Crime - Sacto 911

Inmate linked to execution-style killings of Placer County couple in 1991

Placer County sheriff’s detectives have made an arrest in a 24-year-old cold case involving the execution-style killings of a Weimar couple.

Joseph Victor Foster, 54, was arrested Wednesday at Correctional Training Facility in Monterey County, where he was serving a 50-years-to-life sentence for the 2006 kidnapping and raping of a family member in Modesto.

Foster is suspected of shooting Jacqueline Sue Barton, 33, and Hugh Cleveland Gresham, 37, on Jan. 7, 1991, at their Placer County home.

Recently discovered forensic evidence linked Foster to the killings, according to a sheriff’s news release.

The nude bodies of Barton and her boyfriend, Gresham, were found in their home on Ponderosa Way by Barton’s brother.

Barton, who was lying on the floor of a spare bedroom, was shot repeatedly in the head with a small-caliber weapon, said a sheriff’s investigator at the time. Gresham was shot once in the head and was lying in bed in the master bedroom.

While not speculating on a motive, the investigator said a narcotics search warrant had been executed on Gresham two years before the deaths at the same residence.

No drugs, money or a weapon were found in the house, which is on a frontage road that runs below Interstate 80.

Investigators said the home showed no signs of forced entry and that it appeared both Gresham and Barton died within minutes of being shot.

Detectives looked at drugs as a motive, along with other potential reasons for the killings. Eventually, leads dried up and the case went cold.

Recently, while investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office worked to solve old unsolved cases, they came across forensic evidence that they say connects Foster to the crime.

Foster was already in prison for committing the 2006 Modesto crimes. When he committed those crimes, he was on parole after serving half of a 22-year state prison sentence for kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault with intent to commit rape in Placer County on Feb. 14, 1994.

Anyone with information about the 1991 killings can contact detectives Bryan Mattison or Chris Joyce at (530) 889-7889.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.