Clovis News

Clovis man pleads not guilty in slaying of mother

A Clovis man accused of stabbing his 77-year-old mother to death inside her Clovis apartment last week pleaded not guilty Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court to a charge of murder.

Eric Curtis Tidrick, 49, also denied a special-circumstance allegation that he was convicted of killing a McLane High School graduate in 1978.

Because of the special allegation, prosecutors say, Tidrick is eligible for the death penalty, but they haven't decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

In his first court appearance, a shackled Tidrick said little, other than to agree to waive his right to a speedy preliminary hearing. That hearing will determine whether there's enough evidence to order him to stand trial.

A criminal complaint charges Tidrick with murdering Ladonna Tidrick inside her Clovis apartment Sept. 2. He also faces a special-circumstance allegation that he was convicted of murdering 19-year-old Larry Eugene Smith, whose bludgeoned body was discovered near Millerton Lake on March 5, 1978.

The initial criminal complaint said Tidrick was convicted of murder on May 17, 1978. An amended complaint filed with the court Thursday said Tidrick was convicted on March 31, 1978. He was 17 at the time.

He will return to court Nov. 18 for a status hearing. Judge Don Penner scheduled a preliminary hearing for Tidrick on Dec. 2.

After the brief hearing, Tidrick returned to the downtown Fresno jail, where he is being held without bail.

Tidrick was arrested early Thursday after police received a 911 call from a man who said he had killed his mother at an apartment near Barstow and Villa avenues, spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee said. Police later used an electronic stun dart to apprehend the man, whom Stoll-Lee identified as Tidrick. Before being booked into jail, Tidrick spent a few days in a psychiatric unit, authorities said.

Related stories from Fresno Bee