Thirty two years have passed since three teenagers were found dead inside Fran’s Market in
Crime scene tape kept the public out.
But retired judge James Ardaiz went into the market.
“You can't imagine what it's like to look at a homicide scene like I did and see three kids dead on the floor,” said Ardaiz
Ardaiz was the head of homicide for the Fresno County district attorney's office.
“I have probably been to more than 150 homicide scenes in my career and I remember every detail of this one,” Ardaiz said.
It was the most memorable case of his career: the murders of Bryon Schletewitz, Douglas White, and Josephine Rocha.
The teens were working at Fran’s market, getting ready to close for the night, when Billy Ray Hamilton shot them at close range.
“These were just three kids that didn't deserve a single thing that happened to them,” Ardaiz said.
What Ardaiz and homicide investigators learned was that the killings were ordered by Clarence Ray Allen.
Allen was in prison on a previous murder conviction. But he was up for appeal and he wanted the witnesses who could testify against him in that appeal - gone. Bryon Schletewitz was one of those witnesses.
“The title ‘Hands Through Stone” really stands for the fact that Clarence Ray Allen orchestrated and planned a murder from behind Folsom prison walls,” said Ardaiz.
Ardaiz lays out for readers how Allen did that.
“They will be inside the room when the murders are committed, they will be inside the room when the investigations are conducted and they will be inside the room when the execution occurred,” said Ardaiz.
Ardaiz was a witness at Allen's execution in 2006. The last one carried out in California.
The market is still there at Belmont and Temperance.
It has new owners and a new name.
Ardaiz went on to become a judge. He's now in private practice.
But this case stuck with him.
And now he's sharing why it did.
The book is available at “A Book Barn” in Clovis, 640 Clovis Avenue.
Judge Ardaiz will hold a book signing and discuss his work at Book Barn on December 8th, from to .