California

Two men are charged in Fullerton triple homicide

A woman  sits outside the house where police found three people dead.
A family friend sits outside the house where police found three people dead.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A soldier in the U.S. Army and another man were charged with murder Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a Fullerton couple and their friend over the weekend, according to authorities.

Pfc. Joshua Acosta, 21, of Ft. Irwin in San Bernardino County, and Frank Sato Felix, 25, of Sun Valley, each face three felony counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors also charged Acosta with a sentencing enhancement because he used a firearm, according to the district attorney’s office. Both men have been ordered held without bail. If convicted, the men face a sentence of at least life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The district attorney’s office did not say whether a 17-year-old girl who also was arrested after the killings would be charged. The girl has not been identified because she is a minor.

Prosecutors say that Acosta and Felix entered the home in the 400 block of South Gilbert Street early Saturday and shot dead Jennifer Goodwill Yost, 39; her husband, Christopher Yost, 34; and their friend, Arthur William Boucher, 28. 

Fullerton police were alerted to the deaths when they received a call from the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, who reported that her parents had died, authorities said. When officers arrived, they found the bodies of the couple and Boucher, who occasionally stayed with the family. Each victim had suffered “significant trauma,” police said.

Officers also found the couple’s 6- and 9-year-old daughters inside the home. They were not harmed, but police discovered the couple’s 17-year-old daughter was missing and possibly at-risk. She was found a short time later, according to police. Authorities would not say whether the 17-year-old female who was arrested is the couple’s daughter.

According to a Pentagon spokesman, Acosta has served in the Army since March 2015 and was stationed at Ft.  Irwin in the Mojave Desert as a wheeled vehicle mechanic.  

On Monday, members of the so-called furry community expressed grief over the couple’s death. The couple and their eldest daughter often attended furry events together and dressed up in colorful animal costumes.

Christopher Parque-Johnson, a member of the SoCal Furs, told the Orange County Register that Goodwill Yost was a “mother figure” for the group, saying that “people looked up to her.”

Parque-Johnson declined to comment Tuesday about the couple and their deaths.

Melinda Giles, a family friend, told the Associated Press that Goodwill Yost barred Felix from seeing her eldest daughter for her protection.

Neighbors said Christopher Yost worked as a mechanic while his wife ran an online business, Vixie’s Creations, where she sold crystals, small stuffed animals known as “plushies” and voodoo dolls. One neighbor, Sabo Ludovac, said that Goodwill Yost was uncomfortable because her high school age daughter was dating “an older boy.”

“I heard they were getting very close, but the parents think he’s too old,” said Ludovac, who lives with his son across the street from the victims.

He saw streams of friends drift in and out of the three-bedroom home and remembers the family as “always friendly. It bothers me that people stop their cars and keep looking at their house,” he added. “This should be a quiet place.”

A makeshift memorial with dozens of flickering candles, a white dove and a can of Rock Star energy drink sat in front of the house. Friends, family and teachers had penned special messages strung across the entrance, where an American flag and a lei hung from the door knocker.

“They were so welcoming in every way. Everybody they knew, they would invite into their family,” said a woman who only gave her name as Lil.

She said she last saw the Yosts two weeks ago. She heard about the murders on the news and reminisced about Goodwill Yost’s “yummy crock-pot beef and potatoes. They would always feed me. I’m missing them just as their favorite holiday is around the corner. They loved to decorate inside and outside for Halloween.”

Lil had met the couple several years ago at a birthday party inside their home.

“There are people who reach inside you, touch your heart and leave an everlasting impression,” she wrote in a tribute to the pair and Billy Boucher, the third victim. She hung her note on craft paper above drawings from their daughters. She stubbed out her cigarette, then watered the plants on their porch.

“People at school are very worried about the girls and want them to know that we’re here for them. We’re waiting to welcome them back,” said Alicia Miranda, another neighbor who has lived near the Yosts for seven years. “What is unfolding is just unbelievable — but you never know what goes on behind closed doors of a family life.”

A Gofundme fundraising page has been created for the couple’s daughters.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

2:35 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details from neighbors.

This article was originally published at 2:10 p.m.