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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Media Coordinator: 630-407-8160

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Appellate Court Affirms Conviction in 2011 Murder

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the First-Degree Murder conviction of William Clifford, 38, (d.o.b. 4/26/1979) for the murder of his father, then sixty-three-year-old William Clifford, Sr. On January 30, 2015, a jury found Clifford guilty of First Degree Murder following a four-day-long trial. On March 23, 2015, Judge Robert Kleeman sentenced him to thirty-five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

On May 28, 2011, Westmont police officers responded to a call of a fight in progress with injuries at Clifford Jr.’s residence. Upon their arrival, officers found the elder Clifford lying in a hallway on the third floor of the complex, bleeding from his upper body. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. An investigation into the murder revealed that Clifford, Sr. went to his son’s residence to visit him. During their visit, a fight broke out between the two men resulting in the younger Clifford repeatedly stabbing his father about his upper body.

In his appeal, Clifford challenged the admissibility of the State’s expert witness’ opinion that his palm print matched a print that was found on the murder weapon. Clifford also argued that the sentence of thirty-five years was not warranted because the trial court erroneously refused to consider certain mitigating evidence at the sentencing hearing. In its affirmation, the Appellate Court found that the Trial Court acted properly and within its power concerning the State’s expert witness’ opinion. Regarding Clifford’s second argument, the Appellate Court held that assertion was “flatly contradicted by the record” and that “the trial court twice indicated that it considered the defendant’s mental illness to be a mitigating factor.” Justice Zenoff delivered the judgment of the Court with Justices Jorgensen and Birkett concurring.

Clifford’s appeal was defended by Kristin Schwind of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Criminal Appeals Division.

“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their complete and in-depth review of Mr. Clifford’s arguments,” Berlin said. “His attempt to call into question expert testimony confirming the fact that his prints were on the murder weapon and subsequent argument that thirty-five years is excessive for the murder of his father confirm he has no remorse for stabbing his father to death.” 
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