A story for every victim

Dawn Hensley, 41

Dawn Hensley, a 41-year-old white woman, was killed Friday, Dec. 25, when she was set on fire in the 1500 block of Cordova Street in Pomona, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Pomona police officers were called to the scene  after neighbors reported seeing a person later identified as Hensley run out of her home engulfed in flames, according to a department news release. 

Hensley collapsed on the street and neighbors came to help her until Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arrived, according to the release. She was taken to a nearby hospital with severe burns, and she was pronounced dead at 1:44 p.m., according to coroner’s records. 

According to Pomona police investigators, Hensley got into a heated argument with the father of her children, Clarence Duwell Dear, a 51-year-old black man, and the argument turned physical. Dear allegedly chased Hensley and doused her with gasoline, and then lit her on fire, according to the department release. 

Dear fled from the area before officers arrived but was arrested Dec. 27 after he was seen boarding a bus in Altadena, The Times reported. 

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Dear with murder on Dec. 29, with the special circumstance of torture, making him eligible for the death penalty. 

Dear was also charged with one count of cruelty to a child, according to the district attorney’s news release. 

The couple had four children, said Pomona police Sgt. Marcus Perez, and their 12-year-old son was present when Hensley was set on fire.

The cruelty charge stems from the danger created by the fire, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. 

Dear was initially scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 29, but the arraignment was delayed until Jan. 28 in Department N of the Pomona Branch of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Dear is being held without bail. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Pomona Police Homicide Bureau at (909) 620-2085. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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