A man convicted of killing his 69-year-old great-aunt and burying her body in her south Modesto back yard agreed with authorities that he is not suitable for parole.
In 1990, authorities said Arthur Lane Yeary murdered Joy Bell Goad inside her Dallas Street home. His trial revealed that Yeary repeatedly hit her with a roofer's hammer, crushing her skull.
He wrapped Goad in a blanket from her bed and buried her with her purse, the hammer and a mop he had used to clean up the crime scene, prosecutors said.
In a parole hearing Wednesday at San Quentin State Prison, Yeary, now 54, stipulated that he currently is not fit to be released from custody. District Attorney Birgit Fladager, who prosecuted the case in his July 1997 trial, appeared at this week's hearing to argue against Yeary's release.
In August 1997, Yeary was sentenced to the maximum punishment allowable under the law at the time 25 years to life in prison. An additional year in prison was added to his sentence because he used a dangerous weapon in the murder.
"This was a 69-year-old woman who was very petite and frail; she wore glasses and a hearing aid," Fladager said in court 16 years ago while arguing for the maximum sentence.
Goad had allowed her nephew, who was homeless and perpetually unemployed, to live in a camper trailer in her back yard. Testimony in the trial indicated that Yeary relied on the woman's small, fixed income and refused to get a job or even apply for food stamps.
A friend of the victim testified that Goad was going to tell her nephew on Dec. 1, 1990, that he had to leave her home.
The murder occurred Nov. 30 or Dec. 1, 1990. The woman's son reported her missing. A subsequent search of her home by Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives discovered a crime scene that had been cleaned up, but there was no sign of the victim.
Yeary continued to live in the trailer for nearly a year after Goad disappeared. He left Modesto when other family members began clearing out the trash-strewn back yard. Digging in the back yard unearthed Goad's purse and wallet.
In November 1991, 11 months after Goad's death, an excavation unearthed her mummified remains from a 3-foot-deep hole. Authorities then issued an arrest warrant for Yeary.
He remained a fugitive until 1996, when he was arrested in Mississippi after he used his real name on a job application. The nationally televised show "America's Most Wanted" had featured the murder investigation and the search for Yeary.
Before the parole hearing started, Yeary agreed that he had inadequate parole plans, prosecutors said. He also stipulated that he won't be eligible for parole for three more years.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.