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October 24, 2014

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Attorney: Man charged in strangling was domestic violence victim

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Allainna McClain

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Clifford McClain

A man accused of fatally strangling his ex-wife at his mother's home in northwestern Las Vegas was previously a victim of domestic violence, his attorney said during opening arguments for his client Thursday.

Cases such as these are always "very difficult," attorney Michael Schwarz told the jury.

Clifford McClain, 29, faces a murder charge in the death of Allainna McClain, who was 24.

"I'm sure that Allainna was very sweet and I'm very, very sorry for her family's loss," Schwarz said. "But Clifford, for whatever reason, brought out the worst in her."

Officer Matthew Ware of Metro Police testified that he responded to a domestic violence call at 8749 Isola Drive on July 5, 2007 -- seven months before Allainna McClain's body was found at the same address near the intersection of Fort Apache Road and Charleston Boulevard.

Ware said that after interviewing Clifford McClain -- who had a scratch on his chin -- he concluded that he was a victim of domestic violence battery. No arrests were made and Allainna McClain was not present for questioning.

Maureen Waters, who dated Clifford McClain from December 2005 until February 2006, said she observed abusive behavior from Allainna McClain during that time.

On one occasion, while Waters was spending the night at Clifford McClain's condominium near Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway, she said Allainna McClain began knocking on a window demanding to speak with him.

Waters also testified that she once overheard an argument between Clifford and Allainna McClain in another room. When Clifford returned, she said, he was holding his face and had a red mark on his cheek.

Tiffany Simmons, Clifford McClain's sister, said she knew Allainna since 2004 and that they were friends.

She and her brother would often take smoking breaks in the garage of their mother's home, Simmons said, and Allainna McClain would walk into the room unannounced if he didn't answer his cell phone.

Once every couple of months, Allainna McClain would circle around the block several times in her Jeep Cherokee, Simmons said.

Before resting its case, the prosecution called Larry Smith, a detective with Metro's electronic crime detail.

Smith said he examined two cell phones obtained from the scene -- a Motorola phone belonging to Clifford McClain and an Apple iPhone belonging to Allainna McClain.

Instead of listing his ex-wife by her given name in the cell phone's directory, Clifford McClain listed her number under a derogatory name, Smith said.

One of the text messages sent from Clifford McClain's phone to Allainna McClain's phone, on Feb. 15, 2008, read "everything out of your mouth is hurtful. U won't have 2 worry about talking 2 me again."

During cross-examination, Schwarz asked Smith if there was any way to determine when the derogatory name was typed into the phone directory, and Smith said no.

McClain is also charged with assault and battery, and domestic violence battery, in the death of Allainna McClain, whose body was found on Feb. 17, 2008.

The jury -- consisting of seven men and seven women -- will likely hear closing arguments Friday and could begin deliberations, said Deputy District Attorney Phillip Smith.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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