Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: October 31, 1986
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1944
Victims profile: Billy Faye Jones, 41 (a woman who had befriended him while he was in prison) and John Stopher, 25 (his ex-wife's boyfriend)
Method of murder: Shooting - Strangulation with garrote
Location: San Bernardino County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death. Died in prison on December 7, 2008

A death row inmate has died of natural causes. Isaac Gutierrez, 64, was a parolee who murdered Billy Faye Jones, a woman who had befriended him while he was in prison, and John Stopher, his ex-wife's boyfriend. Both murders took place on Oct. 31, 1986.

Gutierrez died in a hospital Dec. 7, 2008


State High Court Upholds Death Sentence for Former Firefighter Who Killed Wife’s ‘Boyfriend’

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Friday, August 16, 2002

A former firefighter convicted of forcing his son from a prior marriage to rape his estranged wife and killing the person with whom she was living was properly sentenced to death, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

In an opinion by Justice Marvin Baxter for a unanimous court, the justices upheld the death sentences imposed on Isaac Gutierrez Jr. by San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Ben Kayashima. A jury found Gutierrez guilty of the murders of Billie Faye Jones and John Stopher.

The court also upheld Gutierrez’s convictions for the kidnapping of Rose V., as his wife was identified; for aiding and abetting her rape; and for the attempted murder of Coachella police officer David Dunavent.

Stopher, who was living with Rose V. at the time, was a woman who had been taking large amounts of testosterone for years, had a full beard, and was identified by Rose V. to the defendant as her boyfriend. Jones, whose body was found in her van—which Gutierrez was driving when he was stopped by Dunavent for a traffic violation—was a medical clerk at Kern County General Hospital and was seeing Gutierrez socially at the time she was killed.

Gutierrez is a former firefighter for the State Department of Forestry, a post from which he was twice fired because his drinking problems had affected his work. After the second termination, he tried to run over a police officer during a drunk driving stop and was sentenced to four years in prison.

While he was incarcerated, his wife told him she had a boyfriend and filed for divorce. Gutierrez was paroled in August 1986.

He went to live with his sister and her husband in Bakersfield in October 1986. On the last day of that month, he picked up his 15-year-old son in Jones’ van and took him to the Hesperia home that he had shared with his wife.

At the house, Gutierrez’s son raped Rose V., while Gutierrez went into the bathroom and shot Stopher with a shotgun. Rose V. was then dragged from the house and placed in the van where she was gagged and blindfolded.

Gutierrez testified at a juvenile court hearing for his son that he had forced Joseph to participate, striking him on the head when he tried to back out before they entered the house. At his own trial, he claimed that he lied in juvenile court to protect his son.

Dunavent testified that he stopped the van because a headlight was out. When he looked into the vehicle, he testified, he heard right behind him the sound that a gun makes when someone attempts to fire it but the chamber is empty.

A gun battle ensued, Dunavent said, which resulted in Gutierrez being struck by a single bullet and taken to the hospital. Rose V. then came out of the van and sought help.

The van was released to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department as part of its investigation into the Hesperia crimes. A detective eventually went through the vehicle and found the wrapped body of Jones, who had been garroted.

The doweling used to make the handles of the garrote was traced to a piece of wood in the home of Gutierrez’ sister.

Gutierrez denied killing Jones, claiming he found her dead in the van. He suggested that her death was related to the fact that she used drugs and owed money to dealers.

He made the garrote, and gave it to her, because she was afraid of the dealers, he testified. The prosecution, however, argued that he killed her because she knew he planned to attack Stopher and his ex-wife.

He admitted killing Stopher, but said he did not plan to do so before entering the house. He became enraged, he said, when he went into the bathroom and saw “a man with no penis or testicles screaming at me…threatening me, telling me to get…out of his house.”

He denied attempting to shoot Dunavent.

Baxter rejected the defense contentions that the trial for Jones’ murder should have taken place in Kern County, where she was killed, or in Riverside County where the van stop occurred, and that the two murders should have been tried separately in any event.

It was never conclusively determined where Jones was killed, Baxter said, and it was proper to try her murder in San Bernardino County where her body was found, particularly since her killing was part of a crime spree that began there.

Nor did the trial judge abuse his discretion in denying severance.

Evidence of each murder would have been admissible to prove the other, Baxter reasoned. “Nor was this a situation where a weak case was joined with a strong one in order to produce a spillover effect that unfairly strengthened or bootstrapped the weak case,” he wrote.

The case is People v. Gutierrez, 02 S.O.S. 4303.


Don’t Blame

The most common defenses offered up as explanation when a person is charged with a violent crime can be boiled down to either

  • The SODDI Defense: Some other dude did it.

  • It’s Not My Fault: I’m a product of my cruel environment, my sociological/anthropological history, it’s in my genes and I couldn’t help it, or I did it because I got hit in the head and my brain malfunctioned.

Both are risky, and have inherent weaknesses. The SODDI defense only works if the accused can present enough evidence on his part to bring up reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. The “It’s Not My Fault” defense requires jurors to buy in to often complex theories of biology, or psychology, sociology, and other so-called “soft-sciences.” Juries tend to want people to take responsibility for their actions and when presented with a defendant’s bad acts, they want to be able to blame somebody.

I’m not trying to dismiss out-of-hand the psychological and social factors that contribute to criminal activity. I accept that they can be admitted into a trial as an explanation, but reject the idea that they should be used as an excuse. “Not My Fault” arguments should presented to the jury like any other theory of the crime and left to the intelligence of the jury to decide how much weight or credence to allow them. Of course, off-the-wall defenses like the Twinkie Defense in which eating too much junk food makes a person kill don’t deserve much weight at all and are simply a waste of time.

Less clear to many people, but not to me, is the media effect defense. The “Ozzy Made Me Do It” or “Gordon Freeman Told Me to Kill” defenses so popular these days are pretty much hogwash as far as I’m concerned. I wallow in media messages of murder and mayhem and grew up enjoying first-person shooters from the beginning of the genre and I’m as sane as you are (At least to the legal definition: I can distinguish between right and wrong and could assist in my own defense if necessary). Sure, Grand Theft Auto and Doom III and Insane Clown Posse desensitize us to violence, but so did Shakespeare, bear baiting and the Coliseum.

I bring all of this up as introduction to the case of Isaac Gutierrez, Jr., a former State of California forest service firefighter who got drunk, felt his manhood was being threatened and struck back like he felt his culture demanded. As a result a couple of people ended up dead.

Using both the SODDI and Not My Fault defenses, Isaac tried to convice a California jury that he wasn’t to blame for a pair of murders around Halloween 1986.

Things started to go bad when Isaac became an alcoholic. In 1983, Isaac was fired from his state fireman’s job because of his drinking. A little while later, he was stopped for drunk driving and while intoxicated decided to evade arrest, leading the CHiPs on a high-speed chase. He was subsequently caught and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon (automobile) on a peace officer and bought himself a four-year prison term.

While he was in prison, his wife, Rose, decided she could do better, and filed for divorce.

Isaac said later that he felt it was “like the end of my life.” He was served with the divorce papers and a restraining order preventing him from visiting his wife and 5-year-old daughter while he was serving his time.

One day, he called home and a man’s voice answered the phone. He became understandably hostile during the call and threatened the man at the other end of the line.

In August 1986, Isaac was released from prison and later claimed that the person who was living with his wife, John Stopher, called him and threatened to kill him if he showed up around Rose’s Hesperia, California home.

What Isaac did not know was that Stopher was in fact a 25-year-old transsexual who was taking massive amounts of hormones in preparation for sex-change surgery.

When Stopher was dressed, almost no one would suspect that physically, he was a female. Stopher had a full beard and deep voice and dressed and acted as a man. He simply hadn’t made the final cosmetic change yet.

Isaac became even angrier when he talked with his 5-year-old daughter, who told him Stopher wanted her to call him “Dad.”

Knowing that he would violate the restraining order and his parole, Isaac decided to confront Stopher and his estranged wife.

Isaac’s sister was married to a cop who had several guns in his home, and Isaac need access to them. He told his brother-in-law that he needed to be picked up from a local mall as a ruse to get the man out of his house.

While his brother-in-law waited for an hour outside a Montgomery Ward department store, Isaac broke into his house and took a shotgun and two pistols from his home.

Isaac placed the guns in a van owned by his girlfriend, Billie Faye Jones, a 41-year-old single mother who worked as a medical billing clerk at a nearby hospital.

Next, he drove to the Greyhound bus terminal and picked up his 15-year-old son from a previous marriage who was visiting for a couple of days.

It was Halloween 1986, which explained why Isaac had a couple of masks and wigs in the van when he picked up his son, Joseph.

Explaining that he had “a little something to take care of,” he had Joseph put on a mask and cape and did likewise.

“Dad, I don’t want to do this,” Joseph said. “I don’t want to be involved in it.”

In response, Isaac smacked his son on the side of the head, threatened him with a gun and ordered him to assist him with what was about to go down.

Isaac rang the doorbell and Rose answered. He forced his way inside, threw Rose to the ground and ordered Joseph to cover her while he went looking for John Stopher.

John was in the shower when Isaac barged in and let loose with a 12-gauge shotgun blast to the face.

Not satisfied with simply killing Stopher, Isaac unleashed a volley of four or five additional rounds into Stopher’s torso.

Returning to the front hall where Rose was cowering on the ground, Isaac hit her in the head with the butt of the shotgun.

“Your boyfriend back there, he’s gone,” Isaac said. “He’s gone; we blew him away.”

The killers dragged Rose back to the van and while Isaac drove, Joseph tied her up with some ropes in the back of the van.

Heading south on I-15 toward San Bernardino, Isaac instructed his son to rape Rose, which he proceeded to do.

They drove on for some time, stopping once for gas. Near Coachella, the van was stopped by police officer David Dunavent. It was shortly after midnight, November 1, 1986.

Explaining that he stopped Isaac because the van had a headlight out, Officer Dunavent asked Isaac for his license and registration, which he could not provide. The officer then asked Isaac to step out of the van and they walked to the rear of the vehicle.

As Officer Dunavent looked in through the rear window of the van and saw a face looking back at him, he became, for that instant, the luckiest man on the planet.

Isaac placed the stolen .38 revolver against the cop’s neck and pulled the trigger. Dunavent heard the revolver dry fire and spun around, pulling his own weapon.

He ordered Isaac to drop the pistol, but Isaac pulled the trigger a second time. This time the gun discharged and short gun battle ensued. Joseph bailed out of the van with the shotgun and fired several rounds. Fortunately, the only person who was hit was Isaac who was winged twice by Officer Dunavent.

Shortly afterward, other officers arrived and arrested Isaac and Joseph.

In the emergency room of the JFK Memorial Hospital in Riverside, California, Isaac admitted killing Stopher and hinted at even more evil.

“Oh, God. Oh, God. I didn’t mean to kill both of them,” Isaac told the detective who was administering a GSR test. “Oh, What did I do? Did I kill them? Tell the officer I’m sorry. Tell him I’m sorry.”

Three days later, the van was transferred to the custody of the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department and stored in its impound lot. Detective Gary Stroup, who was working the Rose Gutierrez/John Stopher case, visited the lot to take a look around. Opening the van, he was confronted with a stench that anyone who has ever smelled it will never forget.

On a rear bench seat, wrapped in a rug was the decomposing body of Billie Jones. She had been strangled with a garrote, which was still wound around her neck. The coroner estimated the date of death to be mid-afternoon on Halloween.

Forensics linked the wooden ends of the garrote to a dowel found at the home where Isaac was staying, but Isaac blamed Jones’s death on drug dealers.

He admitted that he stole the van, but said he did not know her body was inside it when he took it that fateful Halloween day.

However, also in the van, detectives found the following notes on the back of an envelope:

Mon. call Rose, Wed. gather all necessities, lic. plates off comm van, wig spook/Halloween store, wig shop, call/Billy dinner, make garrote. Friday rendezvous w/J 1300 Greyhound.

DEADLINES: Call Billy 3:00, J5:00, ETA 5 PM Get to VV, *Call Don Oakes for closing time, carpet . . . gas cans . . . shovels.

Isaac said he made the garrote at Jones’s request, because “she thought she might need it later on down the line.”

He spent the day before the murders drinking and taking the methamphetamine that Jones had given him. He said Jones’s dealer, a man he knew only as “Pablo” probably killed her.

During his trial, Isaac tried everything he could to push the blame for his acts on others.

He admitted that he was angry when he broke into Rose and John Stopher’s home, and was shocked when he confronted the naked Stopher in the shower.

He claimed he killed Stopher because Stopher took his life.

He denied telling his son to rape Rose and was unable to explain why he forced Rose to accompany them.

As for trying to kill Officer Dunavent, he claimed he only fired at Dunavent after the officer drew his revolver and shot him in the leg.

To bolster his Not My Fault defense, Isaac presented two expert witnesses. One, an anthropologist who specialized in Hispanic culture, testified that protecting the family’s honor is a strong component of the Mexican-American subculture. The expert testified that a man might be expected to take aggressive or even violent action, especially when homosexuality and lesbianism is involved. He went on to say he would expect a response of outrage from an imprisoned Hispanic male whose wife was divorcing him for another woman, regardless of the other woman’s intentions to become a man.

A clinical psychologist who studied Isaac found frontal lobe abnormalities that could have been aggravated by drug and alcohol use. Frontal lobe abnormalities have been correllated to violence.

The jury took all of this under advisement and convicted Isaac Gutierrez of two counts of first degree murder, burglary, kidnapping, and aiding and abetting a forcible rape. They found special circumstances were present and sentenced him to death.

So far on appeal, Isaac’s convictions have been, for the most part, upheld.



home last updates contact