Suspect's shoe print led to arrest in Linda beating death
A shoe print left on the face of his dead girlfriend led investigators to arrest Daniel Shoats on suspicion of homicide, according to Yuba County Superior Court records.
Cheryl Murphy's badly beaten body was discovered June 10 in an abandoned home in the 5500 block of Alicia Avenue in Linda.
"The shoe print located on the victim's face matched the shoes (Shoats) was wearing the morning the victim was found," according to a probable cause statement filed at the Yuba County courthouse.
A patrolling Yuba County sheriff's deputy spotted Shoats on Tuesday in west Linda and made the arrest.
Autopsy results confirmed Murphy died as a result of blunt force trauma.
A motive for the killing has not been released.
Shoats, 31, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a charge of first-degree murder.
Visiting Judge R. M. Smith appointed public defender Benjamin Wirtschafter to represent Shoats.
Shackled and wearing a bright orange jail-issued sweat suit, Shoats stared straight ahead during Thursday's court appearance and only said, "Yes, your honor," to questions from the judge.
Shoats has a lengthy criminal record in Yuba County, including a 2005 animal cruelty conviction.
Charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery were dismissed in that case in exchange for his guilty plea.
In 2001, prosecutors dropped charges of false imprisonment and making criminal threats in exchange for a plea of no contest to a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, according to court records.
Shoats remains in custody without bail at the Yuba County Jail.
He is due back in court Aug. 1 for a status conference.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.