U.S. Marshal "Most Wanted" Nabbed in NorCal

A May 2006 episode leads to arrest in May 2010

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Jun 3, 2010  |  Updated 4:59 AM PDT
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A Northern California man on the U.S. Marshal's list of 15 Most Wanted is in custody today after someone noticed his profile on a TV show website.

"America's Most Wanted" ran a segment on Paul Clouston, 73, four years ago.  A fan was surfing the show's website recently and stumbled across that segment and recognized Clouston. 

Authorities said it appears Clouston, who is from Pennsylvania, had been working as a maintenance man in a group home in Merced the past four years.

"A case like this shows how important it is to profile these types of criminals. A man wanted out of Virginia was found on the opposite side of the country, here in Merced," Sheriff Mark Pazin said. "This is why we mirror it with our own local version of the 'Most Wanted' which has been very successful in apprehending outstanding fugitives."

Clouston was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution by Virginia State Police for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender and by the Virginia Division of Probation and Parole for alleged violations of his parole on a conviction for the armed sexual assault of a child.

Following the AMW tip, officers went to the group home Tuesday and observed a man resembling Clouston seated in a chair and reading a newspaper. He was arrested without incident.

That was not a sure thing.  AMW said Clouston had bragged to friends that he had shot a police officer in the head and that he would go down fighting before he went back to prison.

Clouston was convicted in 1973 on second-degree murder charges for the 1972 killing of a police detective in Buena Park. He was released from prison in 1982. He was indicted on 17 counts of sexually abusing children in the Williamsburg, Va., area in 1991, pleaded guilty to seven of the 17 charges and was returned to prison. Paroled in 2005, Clouston disappeared after failing to register as a sex offender in Virginia.

Clouston is being held in jail in Merced without bail. He is awaiting extradition back to Virginia.

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