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Thread: Death Penalty Off the Table for Brent Ward Luyster in 2016 WA Triple Murder

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    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Death Penalty Off the Table for Brent Ward Luyster in 2016 WA Triple Murder


    Joseph Mark Lamar


    Janell Renee Knight




    Woodland triple homicide suspect could face death penalty

    By Jim Ryan
    The Oregonian

    A man accused of shooting four people, killing three of them, earlier this month in Clark County could face the death penalty.

    Brent Ward Luyster, 35, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and other charges, according to court records filed Wednesday. He was previously facing first-degree murder charges, but records show the charges were amended.

    In Washington, a conviction for aggravated first-degree murder carries a sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    The Columbian, which first reported the news Wednesday evening, said prosecutors haven't decided whether they'll seek Luyster's execution. The newspaper reported that prosecutors are pursuing the aggravated murder charges because of the severity of Luyster's alleged actions.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee put a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in 2014. Two people have been executed in Washington state since the turn of the century, most recently in 2010.

    Luyster is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Lamar, Zachary Thompson and Janell Knight at 4006 N.W. 417th St. in Woodland on July 15. He was arrested less than 24 hours later, and is being held without bail in the Clark County Jail.

    His girlfriend, Andrea Danielle Sibley, was arrested Thursday and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on a first-degree rendering criminal assistance charge, records show. She's being held in the Clark County Jail on $400,000 bail, according to jail records.

    The shootings triggered a manhunt for Luyster, who was arrested while camping near Abernathy Creek Road in Cowlitz County with Sibley and their toddler son, according to records.

    Sibley, 27, told investigators in an interview that the camping trip was unplanned and that she didn't know what happened the day of the killings. She told them, though, that she was pretty sure bad things happened, according to records.

    Breanne Leigh, who was shot in the face, told investigators that Sibley was at the Woodland property at the time of the shooting, as were Luyster's 12-year-old son and the couple's toddler.

    Leigh said the toddler had been sleeping in Sibley's SUV, the 12-year-old boy had been inside, and Sibley had been outside. She told investigators they and the SUV were gone when she came to.

    Investigators seized Sibley's clothes and purse after the interview. The tread of her shoes appeared to be stained with blood, according to records. There was gun paraphernalia inside her storage unit, records show, and her SUV's inside, driver's door handle appeared to be stained with blood.

    Records show the driver's door window of her SUV was shattered, and the glass appeared to be the same as fragments found at Lamar and Thompson's feet.

    Luyster also is facing attempted murder and weapons charges, records show.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-coun...rt_river_index
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
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    Luyster arraignment postponed, girlfriend pleads not guilty

    By Lauren Kronebusch
    The Longview Daily News

    Brent Luyster could face the death penalty if he is convicted of murdering three people in Woodland, though it's unlikely such a sentence would be carried out if Gov. Jay Inslee is re-elected in November.

    His arraignment, originally scheduled for Monday, was postponed until Aug. 24 to allow his attorney time to investigate the case and assemble a defense team. Luyster still is being held without bail in the Clark County Jail.

    Prosecutors last week upgraded three first-degree murder charges to first-degree aggravated murder while armed with a firearm. Clark County Deputy Prosecutor James Smith has 30 days from the date of Luyster's arraignment to decide whether to seek capital punishment in the case.

    Luyster, a 35-year-old skinhead from Woodland, also faces first-degree attempted murder for allegedly shooting Breanne Leigh, 31, of Camas in the face July 15. He’s accused of killing Janell Renee Knight, 43, Joseph Mark Lamar, 38, and Zachary David Thompson, 36, of Camas the same day at Lamar’s rural Woodland home on the Clark County side of the Lewis River near Woodland

    Though Gov. Inslee announced a moratorium on executions in 2014, prosecutors still can seek the death penalty in cases involving aggravating factors. In this case, Smith has identified two factors: multiple victims and motivation to conceal the crime.

    In a statement Monday, Inslee’s office said the governor won’t reconsider the moratorium in the face of crimes like the Woodland triple homicide.

    “The governor has been very clear this isn't about individual cases but an unequal justice system that generates enormous costs and leaves families without closure,” Inslee’s deputy communications director Tara Lee wrote in an email.

    On Monday morning, Luyster’s girlfriend, Andrea Sibley, pleaded not guilty to first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Her trial is scheduled for Sept. 26 and her bail was reduced from $400,000 to $250,000.

    According to court documents, 27-year-old Sibley was found July 16 with Luyster and their 18-month-old son camping in the woods near Abernathy Creek after Sibley’s car was located off State Route 4.

    Sibley told authorities in an interview that she has dated Luyster off and on for eight years and that she's been living with Luyster and his brother Michael Luyster at the Green Mountain Road home of Susie Dvork, mother of Michael and Brent Luyster.

    Leigh, the woman shot in the face, told authorities that on July 15 she and boyfriend Zachary Thompson picked Luyster up from a Vancouver home and drove him to Knight and Lamar’s home in Woodland. Leigh said that she and Thompson had posted Luyster’s bail after he was arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping his ex-girlfriend in May at a Longview home.

    Later, Leigh said Sibley showed up in her Ford SUV with Luyster’s 12-year-old son (of a different mother) and their 18-month-old son.

    After she heard two shots from outside the Woodland home, Luyster walked into the house and shot Leigh without warning. Authorities later found the two men lying side by side on the gravel driveway, apparently dead from close-contact wounds. Two shell cases, likely from a .45-caliber gun, were found next to their bodies, according to court documents.

    After Sibley's arrest, authorities said they found stains the color of blood on Sibley’s Asics tennis shoes. They also found stains the color of blood on the inside driver door handle of her 1998 Ford Explorer, the driver door window of which was broken out.

    Authorities said the lightly tinted glass from the window was consistent with fragments found near the bodies of the Woodland victims.

    Inside Sibley’s storage unit authorities found a drill and jigs for manufacturing AR15 rifle lower receivers without serial numbers and receipts and packaging materials that showed Sibley purchased a .38-caliber ACP “Micro” semi-automatic handgun and a .45-caliber ACP “Ultra Raptor” semi-automatic handgun from an Oregon gun shop.

    http://tdn.com/news/luyster-arraignm...159274058.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

  3. #3
    Moderator Ryan's Avatar
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    Death penalty in Woodland triple killings could cost $1 million

    Authorities say Brent Luyster, a former Vancouver man with a violent criminal past, was standing on the porch of a rural Woodland home when he shot two of his friends to death. He then allegedly barged inside the house and shot two women, only one of whom survived.

    What occurred in a few moments now has prosecutors facing weeks of deliberation: Should Luyster face the death penalty if he is convicted of aggravated murder?

    Besides demonstrating whether justice is served, their decision could cost local taxpayers more than $1 million. And as it stands now, it’s unlikely a death sentence would be carried out for many years.

    Per state sentencing guidelines, a conviction of aggravated first-degree murder — the state’s only capital crime — requires a life-without-release sentence or the death penalty. However, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014 placed a moratorium on executions in the state while he’s in office, and it doesn’t appear he plans to budge on the issue.

    “The governor has been very clear this isn’t about individual cases but an unequal justice system that generates enormous costs and leaves families without closure,” Inslee’s deputy communications director Tara Lee said last week.

    Still, death penalty cases usually spend a decade or more in the courts. And the moratorium does not prevent prosecutors from pursuing capital punishment. They have 30 days from Luyster’s scheduled Aug. 24 arraignment to file the notice, though it’s likely his hearing will be pushed out further.

    “This is an issue that prosecutor offices statewide wrestle with,” Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik said. “We are in a difficult position as prosecutors in this state where we have the death penalty that is continuously approved by the voters. The law provides for that sentence in certain circumstances, but we also have, conversely, the governor’s position and also the knowledge that the Supreme Court has routinely reversed death penalty decisions.

    “I respect the governor’s position, but each elected prosecutor is in a position to make our own independent decision on what to do in these cases,” Golik added.

    Death penalty cases

    There are currently nine inmates, all men, on death row, according to statistics tracked by the Death Penalty Information Center. They are housed at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, where all executions are carried out.

    According to the Washington Department of Corrections, 78 offenders have been executed in the state since 1904. None was a women. Five men have been executed at Walla Walla since 1981, when Washington’s current capital punishment law was enacted.

    Columbian archives show that the death penalty has been sought three times in Clark County since 1981.

    Westley Allan Dodd was sentenced to die after pleading guilty to molesting and killing Vancouver brothers William and Cole Neer, ages 10 and 11, and Lee Iseli, 4, of Portland. Dodd, who was hanged in 1993, was the first person to be executed in Washington since 1965. He declined his court appeals.

    Clark Hazen was sentenced to die in 1986 for the murder of two Fargher Lake residents, but he killed himself in prison while his case was on appeal.

    James Leroy Brett was condemned to die after he killed Kenneth Milosevich Sr., a Hi-School Pharmacy executive, during a botched robbery at the victim’s Mount Vista home. Brett’s sentence was reversed, and he is serving a life term at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen.

    The most recent case in which a defendant was put to death in Washington was Cal Brown in 2010 — more than 16 years after a King County jury found him guilty of torturing and killing 21-year-old Holly Washa of Burien.

    An expensive process

    In this area, only three attorneys are designated by the Washington Supreme Court to try capital cases: Vancouver attorney Bob Yoseph, Portland attorney Jeff Ellis and Battle Ground attorney Keith Goody. There are 48 attorneys statewide who are qualified to represent capital defendants at trial, according to the state Supreme Court Clerk’s Office.

    All of these attorneys met special requirements to be added to the Supreme Court’s list, according to the Washington State Office of Public Defense. The requirements include: five years’ criminal trial experience; serving as lead counsel in at least nine jury trials of serious cases; serving as lead or co-counsel in at least one aggravated murder case; experience in preparing mitigation packages; and completion of at least one death penalty defense seminar within the previous two years.

    Once appointed, the defense typically assembles a team early in the court proceedings and builds a case against capital punishment.

    Most aggravated-murder defendants are indigent, so the county pays capital defense attorneys at an hourly rate of $125, Golik said. Prosecutors receive their normal salary; but oftentimes, two prosecutors are assigned to death penalty cases, which tend to be more time-consuming than non-death penalty cases. Deputy Prosecutors James Smith and Laurel Smith, from the major crimes and domestic violence units, respectively, are co-counsel in Luyster’s case.

    It is normal practice to assign two lawyers, Golik said, in any case where there is an aggravated murder charge or the possibility of capital punishment.

    Golik said it’s too soon to anticipate the cost of Luyster’s trial if his office seeks capital punishment. He also does not yet know if Luyster and his girlfriend, Andrea Sibley, who’s accused of rendering criminal assistance, will be tried together.

    A recent study by Seattle University, which looked at 147 aggravated first-degree murder cases since 1997, found that Washington death penalty cases cost an average of $1 million more than non-death-penalty cases — $3.07 million compared with $2.01 million. This includes the cost of jailing defendants; defense and prosecution trial work; court, law enforcement and miscellaneous costs; appeals; and post-conviction incarceration.

    The study, released in January 2015, also found that defense costs were about three times higher and prosecution costs about four times higher in capital punishment cases. It did not include the yearly incarceration costs for death row inmates versus those not on death row.

    Authorities say Brent Luyster, a former Vancouver man with a violent criminal past, was standing on the porch of a rural Woodland home when he shot two of his friends to death. He then allegedly barged inside the house and shot two women, only one of whom survived.

    What occurred in a few moments now has prosecutors facing weeks of deliberation: Should Luyster face the death penalty if he is convicted of aggravated murder?

    Besides demonstrating whether justice is served, their decision could cost local taxpayers more than $1 million. And as it stands now, it’s unlikely a death sentence would be carried out for many years.

    Per state sentencing guidelines, a conviction of aggravated first-degree murder — the state’s only capital crime — requires a life-without-release sentence or the death penalty. However, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014 placed a moratorium on executions in the state while he’s in office, and it doesn’t appear he plans to budge on the issue.

    “The governor has been very clear this isn’t about individual cases but an unequal justice system that generates enormous costs and leaves families without closure,” Inslee’s deputy communications director, Tara Lee, wrote in an email Monday to The Longview Daily News.

    Still, death penalty cases usually spend a decade or more in the courts. And the moratorium does not prevent prosecutors from pursuing capital punishment. They have 30 days from Luyster’s scheduled Aug. 24 arraignment to file the notice, though it’s likely his hearing will be pushed out further.

    “This is an issue that prosecutor offices statewide wrestle with,” Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik said. “We are in a difficult position as prosecutors in this state where we have the death penalty that is continuously approved by the voters. The law provides for that sentence in certain circumstances, but we also have, conversely, the governor’s position and also the knowledge that the Supreme Court has routinely reversed death penalty decisions.

    “I respect the governor’s position, but each elected prosecutor is in a position to make our own independent decision on what to do in these cases,” Golik added.

    Appeals alone cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to an estimated $47,000 to $70,000 for court personnel, according to a 2006 report by the Washington State Bar Association.

    Brett’s case cost Clark County more than $500,000 to appeal, according to Columbian archives.

    “The most important facts are the facts of the case, the impact on the community, the impact on the surviving families,” Golik said. “Cost is one factor, but it certainly is not a binding factor. Justice always has a cost. You cannot say, ‘Well, it’s too expensive to seek justice in cases, in general.’ ”

    There is potential financial assistance from the state, usually for smaller counties, Golik said. He does not anticipate Clark County would receive financial assistance if his office pursues the death penalty in Luyster’s case.

    “This office is well-equipped to litigate this kind of case,” he said.

    http://tdn.com/news/local/death-pena...8507c77a7.html
    Last edited by Ryan; 08-09-2016 at 03:32 PM.

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    Triple homicide suspect attempts Clark County jail escape, officials say

    A man accused of shooting four people and killing three in July 2016 attempted to escape Sunday from the Clark County Jail days before he was scheduled to be arraigned, officials said.

    The Clark County Jail is locked down until further notice while deputies investigate the circumstances of Brent Ward Luyster's escape attempt, Undersheriff Mike Cook said in a news release. The incident forced a significant police response, said Israel Young, who saw the police respond to the escape.

    "The jail will remain in lockdown until we've had a chance to assess the security of the entire facility," Cook said. "We need to make sure this escape attempt was isolated to this one inmate and does not involve other inmates or other areas of the jail facility."

    The attempt, discovered by a jail deputy, occurred about 9 p.m., according to the news release. The deputy was walking the jail perimeter when he noticed a broken window.

    Luyster's attorney, Edward Dunkerly, could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.

    Sgt. Fred Neiman, Sheriff's Office spokesman, said in a news release an outer window of the jail had been broken. Vancouver police, Clark County deputies and SWAT members initially helped jail deputies clear all inmate cells. They conducted a search because of concerns that weapons or contraband might have been smuggled in, Neiman said early Monday.

    Young, who works at Affordable Bail Bonds near the jail, said dozens of officers from various agencies had quickly converged at the jail. Later, some officers were seen in tactical gear and armed with rifles. He said police began to disperse shortly after 11 p.m.

    "I've worked here for a lot of years," Young said. "I've seen them come and go. I've never seen that many of them at one time."

    Luyster is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Lamar, Zachary Thompson and Janell Knight in the 4000 block of Northwest 417th Street in Woodland in July. He was arrested less than 24 hours later.

    His girlfriend, Andrea Danielle Sibley, was also arrested on a first-degree rendering criminal assistance charge, records show.

    The shootings triggered a manhunt for Luyster, who was arrested while camping near Abernathy Creek Road in Cowlitz County with Sibley and their toddler son, according to records. Luyster, whose crimes carry the potential for the death penalty, remains scheduled for a 9 a.m. Tuesday after delays to his case.

    The county's prosecuting attorney will review the Sheriff's Office Major Crime Team investigation of the reported escape attempt before considering filing new charges.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/clark-coun...ct_attemp.html
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    Woodland Triple Homicide Suspect Won't Get Death Penalty

    Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty against a man accused in a Woodland triple homicide and attempted jail escape

    VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty against a man accused in a Woodland triple homicide and attempted jail escape.

    The Columbian reports (https://goo.gl/pTK8er) Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik notified Brent Luyster's defense team Thursday of the decision.

    Golik says his office will seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

    Luyster's lawyer says he plans to plead not guilty Monday to three counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a jail inmate, malicious mischief and attempted escape.

    Aggravated murder is the only charge in Washington that carries the possibility of the death penalty.

    Luyster is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Mark Lamar, Zachary David Thompson and Janell Renee Knight on July 15. A fourth person was shot and critically injured.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...-death-penalty
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

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    Luyster will face separate trials

    Judge’s ruling severs his cases of aggravated murder, attempted escape from jail

    By Jessica Prokrop
    The Columbian

    Brent Ward Luyster will face separate trials, one for aggravated murder and the other for attempted escape, a judge ruled Tuesday.

    Luyster’s murder trial is set for October. In that case, he faces three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and first- and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

    A trial date has not yet been set for the remaining charges, which include second-degree attempted escape, first-degree malicious mischief and possession of a weapon by a jail inmate. Luyster will have a review hearing on the matter Aug. 29.

    Earlier in the hearing, Luyster requested a new defense attorney and claimed that communication with his current attorney, Chuck Buckley, had broken down. Buckley disagreed. Judge Robert Lewis denied his request and said substituting counsel would further delay the case, another concern that Luyster had raised.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/j...parate-trials/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

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    Senior Member CnCP Addict CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Andrea Sibley, who pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance to her boyfriend, triple-murder suspect Brent Ward Luyster,
    was sentenced to a year of community custody in Clark County Superior Court on Sept. 23. Ariane Kunze/The Columbian


    August 1, 2017

    Luyster’s girlfriend facing federal weapons charges

    The girlfriend of triple-murder suspect Brent Ward Luyster allegedly provided him with at least nine firearms in the year leading up to the slayings at a Woodland home, according to a federal indictment. It is unclear if any of those weapons were used in the fatal shootings, however.

    Andrea Sibley, 28, is charged in U.S. District Court in Tacoma with one count of aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm and five counts of giving a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

    Luyster, 37, a known white supremacist, is facing one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

    The grand jury indictment, filed July 26, states that between March 2015 and May 2016 in Clark and Cowlitz counties, Sibley provided Luyster with three .223 caliber rifles, two .22 caliber rifles, a .40 caliber handgun, 12 gauge shotgun, .308 caliber rifle, and .380 caliber handgun.

    She’s also accused of giving a false address to a Sportsman’s Warehouse while purchasing firearms July 5, 2015, and July 17, 2015; Bob’s Merchandise in Longview on Feb. 17, 2016, and Feb. 19, 2016; and Clark County Transfers on Feb. 24, 2016, the indictment shows.

    Sibley — who helped Luyster go on the lam after he allegedly fatally shot three people and injured a fourth in July 2016 — pleaded guilty last year to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and was sentenced to a year of community custody.

    A federal warrant was issued for her arrest July 26. Court records show that she was arrested two days later and appeared in court in Tacoma.

    Luyster’s federal charge relates to a May 16, 2016, incident in Longview, court records state. On that day, he was arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping his former girlfriend.

    An FBI agent — included in the probable cause affidavit for Luyster’s triple-homicide case — confirmed that he was facing federal charges in connection with the Cowlitz County case. In the Cowlitz case, Luyster is charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, felony harassment and two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

    Clark County cases

    Last month, a Clark County Superior Court judge ruled that Luyster will face separate trials: one for aggravated murder and the other for attempted escape from the Clark County Jail in February.

    His murder trial is set for October. In that case, he faces three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and first- and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

    A trial date has not yet been set for the remaining charges, which include second-degree attempted escape, first-degree malicious mischief and possession of a weapon by a jail inmate.

    He is scheduled for a hearing on the matter Aug. 29.

    Luyster was previously convicted in 2013 of criminal mischief with a deadly weapon; 2010 of second-degree possession of stolen property; 2005 of malicious harassment; 2001 of third-degree assault; 1998 of second-degree burglary; and 1997 of second-degree theft, according to the indictment.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/a...apons-charges/
    Last edited by CharlesMartel; 08-07-2017 at 03:23 AM.

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