By CBS13 Staff

MODESTO (CBS13) – Parole was denied for a convicted killer who murdered a Modesto woman in her home in 1988 and sexually assaulted her corpse, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office announced on Tuesday.

Scott Avery Fizzell, 51, of Modesto, was found unsuitable for parole at a hearing on July 15 at Mule Creek State Prison in Amador County. He was arrested nearly a decade later in January 1997 after his DNA matched evidence from the crime scene. He pleaded guilty to the murder and burglary in June 1999 and was later sentenced to 31 years to life.

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On the night of March 25, 1988, Fizzell was prowling around homes in the city looking for one to burglarize and steal from to purchase methamphetamine, the district attorney said in a news release Tuesday. While wearing camouflage and in possession of a burglary kit, Fizzell eventually made entry to the home of Deborah Whitlock through a sliding glass door in the back.

Fizzell walked through the home and saw Whitlock sleeping in her bed and a child sleeping in another room, the district attorney said. After taking a purse containing $7 from the kitchen, Fizzell went into Whitlock’s room and began touching her while she was sleeping.

When Whitlock woke up, Fizzell grabbed her by the hair and slit her throat multiple times, the district attorney said. Fizzell then dragged Whitlock’s dead body into the hallway and sexually assaulted her corpse before fleeing. The victim’s husband, Harold Whitlock, got home at around 5:30 a.m. and found his wife’s partially nude dead body in the hallway just outside their bedroom.

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After nine years of investigation, Fizzell was identified and confirmed as Whitlock’s suspected killer through a match against DNA left at the scene. He was arrested in Arkansas.

The district attorney said Fizzell, in a probation report prior to his sentencing, admitted to the crimes and claimed to be high on meth at the time of the murder.

Since being incarcerated, Fizzell has been the subject of several rule violations, including destroying state property, refusing to work, disobeying orders, missing assignments, being in possession of inmate-manufactured alcohol, sexual disorderly conduct and obscuring the window to his cell.

A prison psychologist recently determined Fizzell still posed a high risk for violence if he was to be released back out into the public, officials said. In 2018, that psychologist determined Fizzell’s risk of sexual violence had increased from 47% to 88.7%.

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The parole board denied Fizzell parole for five years. The July 15 hearing was his second, the district attorney said. In 2016, Fizzell waived his right to a hearing for two years and in 2018, he stipulated to being unsuitable for release for three more years.