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Woodley v. Hedgpeth

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 18, 2015

A. HEDGPETH, Respondent.


JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254.


Petitioner was convicted in 2010 of two counts of first degree murder with special circumstances, first degree robbery, and first degree burglary. He is in custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation serving two consecutive indeterminate sentences of life without the possibility of parole, pursuant to a judgment of the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno.

Petitioner appealed to the California Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate District (the "5th DCA"), which affirmed his conviction. (Doc. 15, Ex. A). Petitioner filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court that was summarily denied. (Lodged Documents ("LD") 21).


The Court adopts the Statement of Facts in the 5th DCA's unpublished decision:[1]

In 1982, Woodley and his father, Roy Woodley, had a falling out. In February 2005, Woodley met Jeffrey Rancour. Woodley and Rancour regularly used methamphetamine together three or four times a week. Woodley paid Rancour for his drugs by painting Rancour's apartment and working on Rancour's car.
In July 2005, Woodley asked Rancour if he was "down with coming up" on something. Rancour understood "coming up" to mean acquiring a valuable item that could be sold at a higher price. On July 20, 2005, Woodley picked up Rancour and they drove to Roy Woodley's house. On the drive, they smoked methamphetamine and Woodley said something to the effect that it was a "good day" to "come up." When they arrived at the house, Woodley's stepmother, Angie Woodley, was surprised to see them. The two men stayed about 10 minutes and then left.
On July 21 or 22, Woodley again picked up Rancour and drove to Roy and Angie's house. They smoked methamphetamine on the drive. Angie again let them into the house; they began talking. Roy was in the shower; eventually he came into the front room and sat down in a recliner.
After talking for a few minutes, Woodley suddenly ordered his father to get on the floor. Roy and Angie did not take him seriously, so Woodley, using a more forceful voice, again ordered his father to the floor. When Roy took too long, Woodley pushed him. Woodley ordered Angie to put her hands behind her back and he began binding her with tape. Rancour fumbled when he tried to tape Roy, so Woodley did it.
Woodley took Angie down the hall. Roy asked Rancour what was going on; Rancour told Roy he did not know. When Woodley returned to the front room, he began yelling at his father. Woodley accused Roy of never giving him anything; Roy responded, "that's not true, I loved you."
Woodley directed Rancour to tie Roy's hands with an extension cord. Woodley lunged at Roy and appeared to punch him in the ribs. Woodley then went to the kitchen sink where he washed his hands and a knife. Roy tried to stand up. Woodley returned to the front room with the knife and began stabbing Roy. Afterwards, Woodley again went to the kitchen and washed his hands.
Rancour walked to the back room and saw Angie lying on the floor. The door to the bathroom was open and Rancour saw drops of blood in the sink. Rancour went back to the front room and saw Woodley going through Angie's purse.
Woodley directed Rancour to drive Roy's truck and to follow him back to Selma, where Woodley parked his car and got into the truck. The two men drove to Ronald Berry's house and Berry helped remove the camper shell and unload the tools from the truck. After the truck was unloaded, the men went inside and "smoked some dope."
Rancour made various phone calls trying to "get rid of the truck." Woodley and Rancour then drove the truck to meet up with Mark Haltom, who was going to try to get rid of the truck. Woodley and Rancour then followed Haltom to Larry Sigera's house. Woodley had a $1, 500 check from Roy's account. While the men ingested drugs, Haltom's girlfriend, Amanda Gonzalez, called a relative at a bank to see if she could cash the check.
Woodley gave Haltom and Gonzalez some credit cards. Sigera drove them all back to Berry's house in Selma. On the way back to Selma, they used one of the credit cards at a gas station. Woodley told Rancour he was expecting an inheritance from his father's estate and would split it with Rancour.
At approximately 4:00 p.m. on July 22, 2005, Angie's daughter, Angela Gonzales, and her boyfriend, Dominic Padilla, discovered Roy's and Angie's bodies.
On July 23, Dr. Venu Gopal, a forensic pathologist, performed an autopsy on both bodies. Gopal determined that Roy had been stabbed 31 times with the same blade. He opined that the number of stab wounds and the repetitive nature of the wounds indicated a crime of passion in which the victim and perpetrator knew each other. The cause of Roy's death was multiple stab wounds that penetrated the right carotid artery and left lung.
Gopal indicated that Angie's cause of death was perforation of the right lung and heart due to multiple stab wounds. Her injuries included five stab wounds on the left side of her neck, four on the right side of her neck, three on the front of her chest, three on her right back, and two on the lower part of her chin.
Woodley was interviewed by police on August 1, 2005; he stated he had been at his father's house the Wednesday before the murders. He claimed his fingerprints were on Angie's purse because he had helped her look for a paper with lottery numbers on it.
Various telephone calls between Woodley and Valerie Jimenez were recorded by law enforcement on December 12, 2006. Jimenez told Woodley the sheriff's department wanted her to come in and answer some questions about why she had loaned her car to Woodley. Woodley told Jimenez to "Just tell them everything you know, " to which Jimenez responded, "How stupid that is." Woodley also asked her why she was "panicking."
Woodley was charged with two counts of murder, with the special circumstances of robbery, burglary, and multiple murders. He also was charged with first degree robbery and first degree burglary. As to all counts, it was alleged Woodley personally used a knife. It also was alleged that Woodley had suffered a prior serious felony conviction.
Prior to Woodley's trial, Rancour pled guilty to two counts of manslaughter and three theft-related offenses.
On April 9, 2010, a jury found Woodley guilty of all charges and found the special circumstances and the personal use of a knife allegation true. Woodley admitted the prior serious felony conviction.
On June 14, 2010, the trial court imposed two consecutive life-without-parole terms for the murder convictions. The terms for the robbery and burglary convictions were ...

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