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Police chief angry over plea deal for dentist in son’s death

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POSTED June 27, 2012 8:51 p.m.

FRESNO (AP) — A Coalinga dentist who gave his disabled son a fatal dose of morphine received preferential treatment from prosecutors, said the city's police chief.

Dentist Allen Clare, 68, should have faced a second-degree murder or manslaughter charge for last year's death of his 35-year-old son Patrick Clare, Chief Cal Minor told the Fresno Bee.

Instead, Clare pleaded no contest Monday to violating business practices, and a Fresno prosecutor said he will likely get probation when sentenced Aug. 3. Clare also will forfeit his dentistry license.

"Fourteen months of police work — for what? A plea deal?" Minor said.

Minor said the investigation showed Clare improperly administered morphine, which he wasn't licensed to use, then left his son alone for two hours, even though he was sweating and in apparent distress, the newspaper (http://bit.ly/LfPWKE ) reported.

Patrick Clare had an abscessed tooth, and his father did not mean to kill him, said Allen Clare's attorney, Mark Broughton. Patrick Clare had sought treatment at a hospital a day earlier but left before being seen.

Minor also questioned why prosecutors waited more than a year to charge Clare, who was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance. The chief said he learned of the plea arrangement from a reporter.

District Attorney Elizabeth Egan declined to comment, but her spokeswoman said the plea was supported by the evidence and the law.

Clare entered his plea to a felony charge that said his unlawful practice of dentistry resulted in death. The charge carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.

Police found Patrick Clare dead in a dental chair in April 2011. Police said the investigation showed his father had administered Valium and morphine. The chief said his investigation with the California Dental Board showed the use of morphine was outside accepted dental practices.

 

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