Appeals court upholds murder sentence for Westmont man
Illinois' Second District Appellate Court has affirmed a jury's 2015 first-degree murder conviction of William Clifford III of Westmont for the slaying of his 63-year-old father, William Clifford Jr.
A DuPage County jury convicted Clifford, 38, on Jan. 30, 2015, following a four-day trial. On March 23 of that year, Judge Robert Kleeman sentenced Clifford to 35 years in prison.
Clifford, prosecutors said, was upset about having to live in an extended stay hotel in the suburbs and missed his previous "swanky" apartment in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood and proximity to the beach, Lake Michigan and the grocery store.
They said Clifford stabbed his father eight times on May 28, 2011, after the father and son argued about Clifford's living arrangements, which his parents largely financed, along with a $300 weekly allowance.
In his appeal, Clifford challenged the admissibility of an opinion from the prosecution's expert witness that his palm print matched a print that was found on the murder weapon. Clifford also argued that the 35-year sentence was not warranted because the trial court erroneously refused to consider mitigating evidence at the sentencing hearing.
In its affirmation, the appellate court found the trial court acted properly and within its power concerning the opinion of the prosecution's expert witness.
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."
Clifford's appeal was defended by Kristin Schwind of the DuPage County state's attorney's Criminal Appeals Division.