Sheriff: Petaluma man charged with attempted murder for helping wife’s suicide

Fifty-nine-year-old David Clement
Fifty-nine-year-old David Clement

PETALUMA (KRON) — A Petaluma man has been charged with attempted murder for helping with his wife’s suicide, Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies said.

Fifty-nine-year-old David Clement was arrested on Wednesday morning at around 7:30 a.m. Clement told sheriff’s deputies his wife just hung herself from a tree in the 800 block of Highway 1 in Bodega Bay, deputies say.

Park rangers responded and found 52-year-old Debra Bales, of Petaluma, dead on a tree near the parking lot at Inn at the Tides.

Deputies say the couple had stayed at the Bodega Bay inn for the past three days with the intent of ending Bales’ life. She was not terminally ill, but she was in chronic pain and had recently come off opioid medication, authorities said.

Authorities also say Bales tried to commit suicide three different times while staying at the inn. On those three times, Clement tried to smother Bales with a pillow, deputies said.

Finally, Bales hung herself on Wednesday, according to the sheriff. Clement then called 911.

Clement was booked for attempted murder and aiding a suicide. Both are felonies.

His bail is set at $1 million.

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