[UPDATED:] Clara Laird, OC Homicide No. 59: 88-Year-Old Hubby Accused of Shooting Her

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Update, December 1, 10:05 a.m.: Roy Charles Laird, the 88-year-old Seal Beach man accused of murdering his wife of 70 years, Clara Laird, 86, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Judge Steven D. Bromberg at Orange County Superior Court in Westminster agreed Tuesday to allow Laird to be released from jail on his own
recognizance as long as he is admitted to a locked treatment facility 24 hours a day and seven days a week. His bail remains at $1 million
.

Laird is expected to be housed at the treatment facility throughout his trial. Pretrail hearings are scheduled to reconvene on Jan. 24, 2011.

Update, November 23, 11:20 a.m.: The daughter of Roy Charles Laird may believe her father performed a "mercy killing" of her mother, Clara Laird, but he is still scheduled to be arraigned in Westminster this afternoon on one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

If convicted, the 88-year-old faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. His bail is expected to be set at $1 milllion today, the Orange County District Attorney's Office reveals in the announcement that follows . . .

November 23, 2010

88-YEAR-OLD HUSBAND CHARGED WITH SHOOTING-MURDER OF 86-YEAR-OLD WIFE IN HER ROOM AT A HEALTH CARE FACILITY

WESTMINSTER - The Orange County District Attorney's Office has filed charges against a husband for the shooting-murder of his wife in her room at a health care facility. Roy Charles Laird, 88, Seal Beach, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, Laird faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. The statutory bail amount for the crime is $1 milllion and will be set by the court at Laird's arraignment today, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. at the West Justice Center in Westminster. The Department is to be determined.

The 88-year-old defendant and his 86-year-old wife, Clara Laird, who were married for 69 years, were living apart while she stayed at the Country Villa Healthcare Center on North Gate Road in Seal Beach. She had late-stage dementia and needed 24-hour care. On Nov. 21, 2010, at approximately 12:00 p.m., Roy Laird is accused of walking into the nursing home with a gun, walking into his wife's room and shooting her in the head while she was lying in bed. An employee heard the gunshot and called 911.

Seal Beach Police responded immediately and arrested the defendant at the scene without incident.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Upate, November 22, 4:39 p.m.: The daughter of Clara Laird called her mother's death a "mercy killing" by her father.

Clara had suffered from dementia for years, and Roy Charles Laird, who cared for her at their Leisure World home, at first resisted putting her in a convalescent home, according to Kathy Palmateer, who added that he reluctantly agreed to check his wife into Country Villa Healthcare Center three months ago.

"The shooting was a mercy killing by a husband who had long fed and bathed his wife as she suffered from dementia and decline," Palmateer told the Los Angeles Times.

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Courtesy of Seal Beach Police Department
Roy Charles Laird
Friends and neighbors support the view that Roy Laird loved his wife and was upset about her suffering in declining health.

Original Post, November 22, 3:24 p.m.: 86-year-old Clara Laird was shot and killed in her room at  the Country Villa Healthcare Center, 3000 Beverly Manor Road, Seal Beach, just after noon Sunday.

Police did not have to go far to find the 86-year-old's suspected killer.

Roy Charles Laird, 88, was sitting in the room when officers arrived and was placed under arrest for her murder.

His wife had been shot once in the head. A revolver was recovered at the scene.

The Seal Beach Police Department is asking anyone who may have information about the events leading up to the shooting to contact Det. Gary Krogman at 562-799.4100 ext. 1108.
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