Clovis News

Witness to Clovis couple's 2005 slaying sentenced

A man who saw an elderly Clovis couple stabbed to death nearly five years ago -- but did nothing to stop it -- was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court to 18 years in custody.

"I feel horrible. I'm ashamed and deeply sorry," Jeffrey Rancour told the family of Roy and Angie Woodley, who were killed inside their Ashlan Avenue home in Tarpey Village in July 2005.

Roy Woodley's daughters, Eva Plascencia and Joyce Arriola, told Rancour they accepted his apology, saying he provided key testimony in a trial that led to the conviction of the killer -- their brother, Roy Woodley.

"Thank you for coming forward and taking responsibility," Arriola told Rancour.

But not everyone was in agreement. The slain couple's grandson, Christopher Gonzales, told Rancour that he should never get out of prison.

"You stood by and did nothing," Gonzales said. "It's a wrong that will never be made right, even with a confession."

As part of a plea agreement, Rancour, 31, pleaded no contest to two counts of manslaughter, two counts of residential robbery and one count of receiving stolen property. In exchange, he agreed to a sentence of one year in jail and 17 years in prison.

While confined in jail, Rancour said he discovered God and "did the right thing" by cooperating with law enforcement. "While a good man can become corrupt, I believe a corrupt man can become good," Rancour said.

Judge Gary Hoff, however, challenged Rancour's sincerity.

"You made statements to law enforcement after you were caught," Hoff said. Like other inmates, Rancour also found it "convenient to find God while in custody," the judge said.

Hoff said he was offended by letters from Rancour's supporters who said a prison sentence would take him away from his family. "Where was your compassion for Roy and Angie?" he asked Rancour, who sat quietly in handcuffs as the judge scolded him.

Hoff, however, acknowledge that Rancour played a key role in the prosecution's case against Phillip Woodley.

During the trial, Rancour testified that he and Woodley smoked "ice," a powerful form of methamphetamine, before going to the elderly couple's home. Once inside, Rancour said, Woodley first killed his stepmother and went through her purse.

Rancour said Woodley then stabbed his father, while telling him: "You never did anything for me."

A jury last month took three hours to convict Woodley of two counts of first-degree murder during a robbery. He faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced May 10.