Clovis News

Man guilty of killing Clovis dad, stepmom

A jury took three hours to convict Phillip Woodley on Friday of murdering his father and stepmother inside their Clovis home nearly five years ago.

His own words did him in, his sister said.

"My brother hung himself," said Eva Plascencia. "He will go to his deathbed saying he didn't do it, but we know he did."

The Fresno County Superior Court jury found Woodley guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of Roy Woodley, 73, and his wife, Angie, 71, in July 2005.

Because the panel said the killings were committed during a robbery and burglary, Woodley, 56, faces life in prison without parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 10.

As the verdicts were announced, many people in the packed courtroom cried. Woodley, however, showed no emotion. His mother, Juanita Tovar, sat stoically in the front row behind her son.

Outside court, Plascencia and several other relatives said the verdicts were a fitting end for a man whom they described as "psychotic" and "a major manipulator."

"I'm glad [jurors] saw through the lies," said Chris Gonzales, a grandson of Roy Woodley, who attended every day of the trial.

They praised prosecutor Burton Francis, who faced an uphill battle because Woodley never confessed and didn't leave fingerprints or DNA at the crime scene. Investigators also didn't find blood in the getaway car or the murder weapon.

Francis crafted a case on circumstantial evidence, which included Woodley's statements to investigators and wiretapped conversations he made to his family and friends, telling them to lie.

The Woodleys were found dead inside their Ashlan Avenue home in Tarpey Village on July 22, 2005. Roy Woodley was stabbed 28 times. Angie Woodley was stabbed 14 times.

Francis told jurors that Woodley frequently smoked "ice," a pure form of methamphetamine. He said Woodley hated his father and killed him and his stepmother in a drug-induced rage to feed his drug habit.

His key witness was Jeffrey Rancour, who testified that he and Woodley smoked ice before going to the elderly couple's home.

Once inside, Rancour said, Woodley killed the couple and went through his stepmother's purse. Rancour also recalled Woodley stabbing his father and telling him: "You never did anything for me."

Defense attorney Eric Green's case also centered on Rancour. He told jurors that Rancour was a liar whose testimony was tainted because he received a plea deal from prosecutors to testify.

But Francis said Woodley's own words tied him to the slayings. Woodley told investigators that he visited his father a day or two before their bodies were found. Woodley hadn't seen his father for at least 10 years.

Francis said Woodley also told investigators that during the visit he helped his stepmother dump out her purse to look for a receipt. After the verdicts were announced, Green said jurors told him that the purse was a key piece of evidence, because when the bodies were found, the purse was exactly how Woodley described it to investigators.

"That really hurt our case," Green said.