Josh Acosta Sentenced for life in Fullerton Murder
by Rune AngelDragon
Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community… their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. It also covers furry issues and media plus some personal blogging. Rune joins other guest posters to Dogpatch Press like Tempe O’Kun and Arrkay (Culturally F’d). Welcome Rune. – Patch
Acosta sentenced to life for triple homicide
Frank Felix (left) – Josh Acosta (right)
On September 24th, 2016, media outlets blew up with the news of a triple homicide in Southern California. Now known as the “Fullerton triple homicide”, the highlight of the headlines following the incident was that there had been a murder among “Furries”. Despite the hate and jokes that circulated due to misleading titles and information, the fandom itself was broken over this loss.
The victims were Christopher Yost (34), Jennifer Yost (39), and their friend Arthur Boucher (28). The loss ran deep as those involved were very active in the Furry community. They were known through several local groups, including the La Habra Fur Bowling social group, and as attendees at the Prancing Skiltaire monthly parties (the long running furry house owned by some of the founders of 1980’s fandom.)
For the local Furry populace, Jennifer Yost was seen as the “Mom of the community,” thus her nickname of Jen-ma. She was known for her kindness in listening and helping others with their problems, and her crafting… making clothes and stuffed animals for her children. It was her youngest child (then 6-years-old) who called the police to tell them that their parents were dead that morning.
It was 8:21 AM when dispatchers received the 911 call from the girl saying that her parents were dead. By 8:26 AM, police were on the scene where the bodies were found. The victims were slain by gunshots. There were two children still inside the home, the caller (aged 6) and another child (aged 9 at the time)- but there was also a 17-year-old daughter who was nowhere to be found. At first she was labeled as a “missing/at risk” person. But then she became a suspect in the case.
The next day at 8:45 AM, police made two arrests in connection with the case: Josh Acosta (an Army Private stationed at Fort Irwin), and Frank Felix, of the Sun Valley Furry Fandom. The missing girl was also taken into custody, but as she was a juvenile at the time, no information on this was disclosed because information pertaining to a minor is against the law. Felix and Acosta were being held in jail with their bails set at 1-million dollars.
By September 27th, Felix and Acosta were charged with 3 counts of murder. There were no charges being discussed for the 17-year-old still in custody. It was later revealed that she received immunity based on her testimony in the case.
There was an initial arraignment hearing on October 28th of 2016. Both men requested an alternate arraignment date, which was granted for January 2017. On January 13th, both men pled “not guilty” in the murders. The pre-hearing for their trials began on March 24th. The jury trial for Acosta began on October 22nd, 2018 and on November 8th Acosta was found guilty.
Charged with 3 counts of first-degree murder, 3 counts of special circumstances (due to it being multiple victims), and 3 counts of discharging a firearm causing injury/death, Acosta was sentenced (on December 14th) to 3 consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, plus 75-years additional to life because of the special circumstances.
As the case was happening, the media was rather silent about it. There were few details to be found, including a motive (if any) for this crime. Rumors quickly circulated that it was a Furry Hate Crime, before evidence popped up showing otherwise.
While the police were still working to figure out what had happened, it was found that the eldest daughter (who was now in custody) had a forbidden relationship with Frank Felix, whom she was forbidden to see. Now it seemed more likely a crime of passion – and again, media outlets turned towards the fact that Katlynn Goodwill Yost was also a Furry, who suited with her Mother in order to escape reality. Katlynn was depicted as nearly ‘inhuman’ in various articles saying that she had trouble connecting with people. Even without any evidence to back it up, articles had the blood painted on her hands. They showed photographs of her holding a knife up to a teddy-bear, extreme makeup, and anything to make it seem like it was two young (and mentally disturbed) people trying to get away with some forbidden relationship, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Katlynn was later released from juvenile detention without being held culpable for the actual murder. Now in 2018, we have the entire story of what happened on the night when the three victims were killed. Private Joshua Acosta was stationed at Fort Irwin (at the time), and met Katlynn through the Furry Fandom. Through their friendship and time talking, Katlynn told Acosta in confidence that she was being sexually abused by her step-father. Katlynn stated this had been happening on a weekly basis from the ages of seven to fifteen.
Accordingly, if those allegations are true, then these murders were not the crime of passion people had expected with Katlynn being banned from a relationship with Frank Felix. Rather, Katlynn testified against Felix, saying that he had “blackmailed” her into having sexual intercourse with him or else he would tell Katlynn’s mother about the molestation going on. However, Frank Felix was in the home on the night that the three victims were murdered. Katlynn let Felix and Acosta inside her home. Their plan was merely to tell Jennifer Yost about the molestation, and then get Katlynn as far away from the house as possible.
Katlynn and Felix had gone to Acosta’s truck when the soldier entered the residence. Acosta then used a shotgun to shoot Jennifer Yost between the eyes, shot Boucher in the head (later explaining it as mere “collateral damage”), and then shot Christopher Yost as he was trying to flee the residence. The other children in the house (then ages 9-and-6) were unharmed. Then Acosta returned to his vehicle and the three of them drove away, with Katlynn unaware that her parents were dead. This was backed up by Acosta, as he verified that she did not know his intentions of killing the parents.
Suspicions arose that this had been Acosta’s plan from the beginning, and not a last-minute decision, because on September 19th, Frank Felix sent a message to a friend saying that he was stressed and might be assisting someone in a murder. However, Felix stated that this was in reference to killing an animal. Felix has since been linked to getting Acosta the shotgun used in the murders, driving Acosta’s truck to the home, and then helping to destroy evidence. Felix’s pre-hearing is set for February 1st of 2019.
Acosta referred to the Yost family as a “festering wound” that he had “cauterized.”
Acosta’s attorney noted that the young man was autistic, and this made him: “overly trusting and naive, which led to him wanting to ‘save’ Katlynn Goodwill.” Goodwill was accused by the attorney as being manipulative, and that she had very much wanted her parents dead. Writings found under multiple personas conflicted with what Goodwill said to the police… things such as friction with her Mother and wanting to kill someone. Katlynn admitted to lying to police at first, and it is still unclear whether or not these things stand true. But it was deemed that whether Katlynn had manipulated Acosta or not, he was still the one responsible for carrying out the murders, and thus he was charged.
Again, this was something that the media had decided to highlight in their view; that an autistic soldier had murdered a “Furry” family, who were part of a very sexualized community meant for dressing as anthropomorphic animals.
Naturally this spurred even more conversation about how someone like Acosta got into the Army in the first place (with his non-neurotypical status).
“In the US & UK a formal diagnosis of autism is a disqualifying condition. Though there are instances in the US where a waiver has been issued during the recruitment process or the recruiter did not include it [on the paperwork at all]”
—Len Blakely, Senior NCO (Canadian Armed Forces).
Not much is known of Acosta, other than he was seen as very immature. Known more for his involvement with the Brony community, he was often seen taking a pony character with him to his combat exercises.
The young children who were left in the home have since received counseling and were relocated to live with their relatives. Boucher’s family may still be mourning for their relative who lost his life because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. At the time of his death, Boucher had a 3-year-old daughter. A GoFundMe was set up in the Yost’s name for funeral expenses and family care, back in 2016… and at least we can rest assured that the murderers are being put behind bars. But the damage has long-since been done.
It remains to be seen what will be the final verdict for Felix.
– Rune AngelDragon
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The girl was abused?! Terrible! Acosta should have gone to the police instead of killing two innocent people! Murder never solves anything.
Acosta claimed he was told by the girl that she was abused. That doesn’t mean she was, there are apparently a lot of issues in that. Like, for example, Acosta was upset because she was being abused… but was okay with his best friend also having sex with her when she was under 18
She apparently did poorly with testifying, being shown as someone who lied to the police, and used the flimsy excuses about role-playing under other characters when talking about wanting her mom dead. If making false claims of abuse could get others to do things for her, perhaps that’s what happened. Of course teens can be mixed up and immature and a person can be an abuse victim at the same time as being involved in a crime.
I think it’s really unclear what the truth is, because the other person who could be questioned about it is dead. It’s probably good to be careful about thinking we know the truth because he can’t defend himself and what if he was innocent and then double hurt by this?
She was my friend, I knew what was happening to her she told us what was happening to her with her family, we tried to help to the best of are ability, but without physical proof what could we do. It has nothing to do with being a furry, or a hate crime she was just a girl in a terrible situation that wanted out, but the path she chose was not as she predicted. Yes she likes somethings that many would count as strange, but the fact of the matter is she didn’t know what was going to happen when she tried to escape.