The first-degree murder conviction of a Westmont man found guilty in 2015 of stabbing his father to death was affirmed Oct. 18 by the Second District Appellate Court, according to a news release from the DuPage County State’s Attorney's Office.
A jury in January 2015 found William Clifford Jr., 38, guilty of first-degree murder nearly four years after he fatally stabbed his father, William Clifford Sr., to death in a Westmont hotel.
Clifford Jr. was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
In his appeal, Clifford challenged the admissibility of the state’s expert witness’s opinion that his palm print matched a print that was found on the murder weapon. Clifford also argued the 35-year sentence was not warranted because the trial court erroneously refused to consider certain mitigating evidence at the sentencing hearing, the release stated.
However, the Appellate Court in Elgin found the trial court acted properly and within its power concerning the state’s expert witness’s opinion. Regarding Clifford’s second argument, the Appellate Court held the 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,” according to the release.
Westmont police officers on May 28, 2011, responded to a call of a fight in progress with injuries at Clifford Jr.’s residence. Officers found the elder Clifford, of Aurora, lying in a hallway on the third floor of the complex, bleeding from his upper body. He was taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation revealed Clifford Sr., 63, went to his son’s residence to visit him. During the visit, a fight broke out between the two men resulting in the younger Clifford repeatedly stabbing his father about his upper body, the release stated.
“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their complete and in-depth review of Mr. Clifford’s arguments,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the release. “His attempt to call into question expert testimony confirming the fact that his prints were on the murder weapon and subsequent argument that 35 years is excessive for the murder of his father confirm he has no remorse for stabbing his father to death.”