Polygamist, Former Youth Pastor Sentenced

Pastor Stabbed, Mutilated Wife

A former youth pastor was convicted of fatally stabbing one of his two wives, mutilating her body, then buring her in the Arizona desert, was sentenced with 26 years to life in state prison.

Sean Barclay Goff, 38, was convicted July 27 of first-degree murder in the Sept. 19, 2003, death of Joy Risker, the mother of two of his three sons.

Superior Court Judge Robert F. O'Neill is expected to sentence Goff to the maximum 26 years to life in state prison.

According to court testimony, Risker, 25, illegally married Goff in 1997 and lived with him and his first wife, Sheila, along with their children in Kensington.

Sheila Goff was in Santa Barbara with all three boys when Risker went missing after having dinner with the defendant at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Goff testified that he had planned a romantic weekend with Risker to try to salvage their relationship but that after dinner they argued at home.

He said he was about to tell her he was ending their relationship when she appeared at their bedroom door with a knife, and that while struggling for the knife on the bed, he stabbed her, then panicked and stabbed her again.

According to court testimony, Risker was stabbed a total of 12 times.

Goff said he figured authorities wouldn't believe he killed Risker in self-defense, so he began to cover up the bloody scene and the victim's identity, throwing away bloody bedsheets and cutting off the victim's fingertips with a meat cleaver. He said he then got a saw out of the garage and cut out Risker's teeth.

Goff said he loaded the victim's body into a plastic container, got it into a rented SUV and drove to Arizona to dispose of the body.

Once in a remote location in Maricopa County, near Sentinel, Ariz., Goff said he smashed a large lava rock into Risker's face to make it harder to identify her. He said he then buried her body by putting rocks on top of it.

Goff tried to make Risker's family and friends believe that she ran away with another man, said prosecutor Matthew Greco.

The defendant wrote e-mails, posing as Risker, saying she was OK but didn't want to talk to anyone.

On Oct. 21, 2003, Goff turned himself in to police, telling officers, without providing details, that he had killed Risker.

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