Witness testifies on killing of elderly couple

March 25, 2010 

Before 73-year-old Roy Woodley was stabbed to death, his reported last words were directed at his drug-addict son: "I love you."

Those words, however, didn't stop Phillip Woodley from killing his father, Jeffrey Rancour testified Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.

On his first day on the witness stand, Jeffrey Rancour testified that he and Phillip Woodley were high on "ice," a pure form of crystal methamphetamine, when they went to the Clovis home of Roy and Angie Woodley in July 2005.

He said the two weren't expecting them, but they were cordial and offered them something to drink. But from the start, Rancour said it was apparent Roy Woodley and his son "seemed distant."

After some small talk, Phillip Woodley suddenly became enraged, Rancour said. He ordered the elderly couple to lie on the living room floor. He tied their hands behind their back with tape.

Rancour, 31, testified all he could do was watch.

Phillip Woodley allegedly first marched his 71-year-old stepmother to a back room. Rancour testified that he learned later that she was stabbed to death.

Woodley is accused of then attacked his father in the living room.

"I remember [him] telling his father that he never gave him nothing," Rancour testified. But Roy Woodley said, "That's not true. I love you," according to Rancour's testimony.

After attacking his father, Phillip Woodley went to the kitchen and cleaned himself, Rancour said. But when his father somehow stood up, Woodley attacked him again until he was dead, Rancour said.

As Woodley cleaned himself, Rancour said he went to check on Angie Woodley. When Rancour hesitated in saying what he saw in the room, prosecutor Burton Francis showed a photograph of Angie Woodley's body on a big screen for the packed courtroom to see.

The photograph caused Phillip Woodley, as well as one juror and several people in the audience, to cry. After the couple were killed, Rancour testified, Woodley went through Angie Woodley's purse and stole some items.

He said Woodley ordered him to steal Roy Woodley's truck.

The trial resumes Monday, when attorney Eric Green, who represents Woodley, will cross-examine Rancour.

Francis has told jurors that Rancour is a key witness because no fingerprint or DNA evidence ties Woodley to the killings. But Green has told the panel that Rancour's account doesn't make sense because it would take more than one person to kill the victims.

Green also said the evidence will show that Rancour and his friend, Dallas Mossey, another methamphetamine addict, killed the elderly couple to rob them. Under Roy Woodley's fingernail was DNA from Mossey, Green said.

Francis has acknowledged that sheriff's detectives had investigated Mossey in the killings. Mossey, 31, however, died in a motorcycle crash on the night of July 21, 2005, a day before the couple's bodies were discovered, Francis said.

In addition, Rancour testified Thursday that he didn't know Mossey.

Rancour has pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter, robbery and receiving stolen property. He will be sentenced to 18 years in prison after he testifies.

If convicted, Woodley, who turned 56 on Wednesday, faces life in prison.

The reporter can be reached at plopez@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6434.

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