Man accused in beating death faces more charges |

Man accused in beating death faces more charges

A local transient charged with murder in the beating death of a man who lived across the street from his estranged wife was arraigned Thursday on more criminal charges.

Clifford McDonough, 38, appeared in court Thursday to face the additional charges of misdemeanor battery and violating probation. On Wednesday, he was arraigned on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the beating death of Donald Sullivan of Grass Valley.

McDonough allegedly had accused his estranged wife of having an affair with Sullivan prior to the alleged beating

The additional charges stem from a prior arrest for battery against another man, said County Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith.

McDonough also was on probation for a prior misdemeanor drug possession charge, County Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson said.

Some witnesses of the fatal beating were former clients of the public defender’s office, so an internal review of the witnesses’ cases must be done before a public defender is assigned to McDonough, Ferguson said.

A blood test for McDonough will reveal whether drugs were in his body at the time of his arrest Tuesday, Ferguson said.

McDonough had been in jail for the misdemeanor battery charge, but he was released Monday on his own recognizance. He allegedly beat Sullivan four hours later.

Witnesses told sheriff’s investigators McDonough had accused his estranged wife Monday night of having an affair with Sullivan, who lived across from her travel trailer in his own camping trailer on Robin Avenue, west of Grass Valley.

McDonough then allegedly walked over to Sullivan’s trailer and beat him severely, returned to his wife and allegedly beat her. Sullivan was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support equipment.

Police arrested McDonough Tuesday morning, and Sullivan was taken off life support machines at Sutter Roseville Medical Center Tuesday afternoon.

The autopsy revealed that multiple bones in Sullivan’s face, chest and neck were broken, Ferguson said. McDonough’s wife survived, suffering a fractured eye socket and a broken nose, she said.

There is no indication McDonough used anything other than his fists and feet to beat his victims, Ferguson said.

Sullivan leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter, four sisters and many nieces and nephews, according to his obituary. He enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, fishing and other outdoors activities.

McDonough is set to enter his plea on the all charges against him at 1 p.m. Nov. 1 in Nevada County Superior Court.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail or call 477-4236.

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