Local & Regional
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A man pleaded guilty Friday to murder and 12 other charges, five years after he killed a man to steal $600,000 in Native American benefits.
Frank Valles killed Alphonso John Hyde sometime between January 2008 and July 2012, according to court documents filed shortly after Valles' arrest in August 2012.
Valles stole Hyde's benefits after Hyde was dead - $20,000 monthly checks from a Native American tribe to which Hyde belonged.
Valles initially told officers how he killed Hyde and how he hid Hyde's body since 2008, though Valles later tried recanting the confession, telling officers it was a hoax.
Cadaver dogs were used to locate Hyde's remains in August 2012 buried at two Bakersfield area homes, one near Buena Vista and Harris roads and the other off Curnow Road in south Bakersfield. The murder came to light after Valles' estranged wife reportedly overheard Valles make a comment about moving Hyde's remains from the southwest Bakersfield home to the Curnow Road home.
Valles was originally charged with a single count of first-degree murder, but Kern County prosecutors added 12 charges as part of a plea deal. In exchange for his guilty plea on all 13 charges, Valles should get 38 years in prison and be exempt from a life sentence or death penalty.
Sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 17, is ultimately at the judge's discretion.