A man sentenced to death for the 1988 murder of a 73-year-old Citrus Heights woman has died on California’s death row.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced that Ralph Michael Yeoman, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday morning at San Quentin State Prison. He subsequently was pronounced dead at 5:24 a.m. Authorities said the cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy. Yeoman occupied a cell by himself, according to a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news release.
A Sacramento County jury in July 1990 sentenced Yeoman to death for the Feb. 13, 1988, first-degree murder, kidnap and robbery of Doris Horrell. Her body was found by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies later that evening in an open field west of Interstate 5 near Arco Arena.
According to stories in The Bee, Horrell, a widow, was driving to the airport to pick up a friend. When her car broke down on Interstate 80, she accepted a ride from Yeoman, who shot her with a .22 caliber pistol and stole her jewelry and other belongings.
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Yeoman had previously spent time in state prison for slashing a 92-year-old man’s throat in a 1977 robbery and, while serving in the U.S. Army as a young man, raping the wife of a fellow soldier.
He had been on death row since July 23, 1990.