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Disabled woman booked for murder, arson in Riverside fire that killed parents

Harley Clark, 75, and his wife, 73-year-old Linda Clark, seen in this undated photo, were killed in a fire at their Riverside home on Friday, April 20, 2012. Their disabled daughter has been arrested for murder and arson.

April 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
An early-morning fire that ripped through a Riverside home left a man dead and his wife critically injured.

Police have arrested the couple's 46-year-old daughter on suspicion of murder and arson. The woman's brothers, however, are defending her, saying she is developmentally disabled and is incapable of understanding the danger of fires. They said she has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old child.

"She's not a bad person, an unfortunate, tragic accident happened," said one of the siblings, Dave Clark. "Now the tragedy is continuing."

Firefighters were called to the blaze in the 6200 block of Sheridan Court about 4:50 a.m. Friday. When they entered the home, they found the man, 75-year-old Harley Clark, and his wife, 73-year-old Linda Clark, in separate rooms. They were transported to the hospital, where Harley Clark died and his wife was listed in critical condition.

The Clarks had been married nearly 50 years. According to the Press-Enterprise, Harley Clark was a McDonnell-Douglas retiree who helped build DC-10 jetliners and his wife was a homemaker who helped raise eight children.

The couple's daughter, Deborah Marie Clark, was not home at the time but returned and was then questioned. She was ultimately booked for murder and arson.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Jim Brandt at (951) 353-7137 or Detective Mike Medici at (951) 353-7104.


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