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Thread: Ty Michael Hill Sentenced in 2010 CA Slaying of Dystiny Myers

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    Ty Michael Hill Sentenced in 2010 CA Slaying of Dystiny Myers



    Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against one of the men accused of killing a Santa Maria teenager last year.

    Ty Michael Hill, who some of the defendants told investigators was the leader in carrying out the killings, will face the death penalty if convicted of killing 15-year-old Dystiny Myers.



    Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty for Rhonda Maye Wisto, who Hill said ordered the killing. Prosecutors said they reserve the right to seek the death penalty once more evidence is gathered.

    The other three defendants in the case, Frank Jacob York, Jason Adam Greenwell and Cody Lane Miller, will not face the death penalty.

    The lawyers for Hill and Wisto will have to show qualifications that they can handle death penalty cases, or will have to get assistance for a lawyer who is qualified.

    The defendants are next scheduled to appear in court March 17.

    All five of the defendants have been identified as participants in some capacity in the attack on Myers, who was beaten, bound and partially burned before her body was discovered in a remote Santa Margarita field Sept. 26.

    Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/02...#ixzz1EuWlk7ka

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    • Possible motive in Dystiny Myers' killing: 'She was being disrespectful'
      Possible motive in Dystiny Myers' killing: 'She was being disrespectful'


      Testimony in court Tuesday hinted at a possible motive for the September killing of Dystiny Myers when a detective said that one of the suspects allegedly told police that Myers was “being disrespectful.”
      The second day of the preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against five defendants accused of torturing and killing the 15-year-old Santa Maria girl concluded with a ruling from Judge Barry LaBarbera that sufficient evidence was presented to proceed to trial.
      The defendants are Frank Jacob York, Rhonda Maye Wisto and Jason Adam Greenwell, all of Nipomo; Cody Lane Miller of Fresno; and Ty Michael Hill of Santa Maria. They are scheduled to enter new pleas at an arraignment Feb. 24 in LaBarbera’s court. They previously entered not-guilty pleas.
    • Death penalty possible in teen’s killing
      Death penalty possible in teen’s killing


      The five people accused of killing Dystiny Myers, a 15-year-old Santa Maria girl, could face the death penalty after new charges were brought against them Wednesday.
      Prosecutors added new allegations of premeditated murder with the special circumstances of kidnapping, aiding and abetting the alleged crime, and torture.
      The special-circumstance allegations allow the prosecution to seek the death penalty, though the District Attorney’s Office has not yet decided whether to do so.
    • Suspects in killing of Dystiny Myers may face death penalty
      Suspects in killing of Dystiny Myers may face death penalty


      The five people arrested in connection with the death of a Santa Maria teenager may face the death penalty after additional charges were brought against them Wednesday.
      The five suspects arrested in connection with the death of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers now face charges of premeditated murder, along with enhancements including torture, kidnapping and aiding and abetting. Those enhancements make them eligible for the death penalty, although prosecutors have not yet decided if they will ask for such a punishment.
      Little information has been released by Sheriff's Department officials about what may have led to Dystiny's burned body being discovered Sept. 26 in a remote Santa Margarita field. The five who have pleaded not guilty to murder - and denied the related enhancements in court Wednesday - are: Jason Adam Greenwell, 20, Frank Jacob York, 19, and Rhonda Maye Wisto, 47, all of Nipomo; Ty Michael Hill, 28, of Santa Maria; and Cody Lane Miller, 22, of Fresno.
    • Authorities identify teenage girl whose burned body was found Sunday near Santa Margarita
      Authorities identify teenage girl whose burned body was found Sunday near Santa Margarita


      The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department said Friday that the 15-year-old girl whose burned body was found near Santa Margarita on Sunday is Dystiny Myers of Santa Maria.
      The department would not release additional details about Myers’ death, saying that the investigation is ongoing. Little was known Friday about the teen, including how she was connected to those suspected of killing her.
      The Rev. Rick Bloom — pastor of Pacific Christian Center in Santa Maria — who had emerged as a spokesman for Myers’ family, told the Santa Maria Times later on Friday that he was asked not to comment further.
    • Man may face death penalty in campus slaying
      Man may face death penalty in campus slaying


      A man accused of fatally stabbing a teenager on a Millbrae high school campus could face the death penalty after prosecutors added the special allegation of lying in wait to his murder charge.




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    Wisto won't face death penalty in teen's killing

    Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello said today that he will not seek the death penalty for Rhonda Maye Wisto, one of five suspects in the murder of Santa Maria teen Dystiny Myers.

    Covello's announcement came during a trial setting conference for the five suspects in the San Luis Obispo courtroom of Superior Court Judge Barry La Barbera.

    Also, Wisto's attorney David Wells, from Los Angeles, asked to be taken off the case because he said he didn't have enough energy. Wells represented Roman Polansky in the 1970s.

    Further proceedings to decide whether Wells will remain on the case will be held March 23.

    The teen's charred body was discovered Sept. 26, 2010, in a remote area near Santa Margarita in northern San Luis Obispo County.

    Also charged in the death are Ty Michael Hill; Wisto's son, Frank Jacob York; Jason Adam Greenwell; and Cody Lane Miller.

    Covello said on Feb. 24 that he will seek the death penalty for Hill if he's found guilty of Myers' brutal slaying.

    All five have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, torture and aiding-and-abetting charges stemming from Myers' murder. All five are being held without bail at County Jail.

    http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/...cc4c002e0.html

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    Man facing death penalty in girl's killing gets new lawyers

    Thomas Allen and Bill McLennan were appointed by Judge Barry LaBarbera because they qualify to handle death penalty cases. They will take over for Raymond Allen, Hill's previous court-appointed lawyer.



    Hill is the only defendant who will face the death penalty, according to statements made in court by Tim Covello, the chief deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.

    Hill and co-defendants Rhonda Maye Wisto, Cody Miller, Jason Greenwell and Frank Jacob York are scheduled to appear in court for a trial-setting conference on April 8 at 9 a.m.

    Myers’ burned body was found bound and beaten Sept. 26 in a remote Santa Margarita field.

    Each of the defendants has pleaded not guilty.

    Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/03...#ixzz1HUiArLs6

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    Motion denied in SM girl’s death

    A judge confirmed Monday that a Santa Maria man accused of murdering a 15-year-old girl in 2010 will face the death penalty if convicted of the girl’s death.

    San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy denied a motion to allow a new preliminary hearing for Ty Michael Hill, who has been charged with 1st-degree murder for the gruesome death of Dystiny Myers.

    Hill is also facing charges of kidnapping, torture and aiding-and-abetting, all special circumstances that make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

    William McLennan, Hill’s attorney, argued that no evidence was presented during a February preliminary hearing to prove that Myers was tortured and kidnapped prior to her death.

    Myers’ charred body was discovered shortly after 5 a.m. Sept. 26 near Santa Margarita in northern San Luis Obispo County.

    At the conclusion of the February preliminary hearing, Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled that enough evidence existed to order Hill and 4 co-defendants to stand trial on the charges.

    Also charged in the case are Rhonda Maye Wisto and her son, Frank Jacob York, both of Nipomo; Jason Greenwell of Nipomo; and Cody Miller of Fresno. Hill is the only suspect in Myers’ murder facing the death penalty.

    “This court has an obligation to not partake in speculation and guesswork,” McLennan said. “The court has to look at the record as a whole. What you have here is a meth-fueled beating of a young girl. What you don’t have is a kidnapping and torture.”

    Prosecutors believe the Santa Maria teen died sometime between Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 after she was beaten, hogtied, duct-taped from head to toe and possibly drugged at Wisto’s home on Mars Court in Nipomo, where she had been staying.

    Myers died from manual asphyxiation and blunt-force trauma. She also had toxic levels of methamphetamine in her system, which contributed to her death, according to county sheriff and coroner officials.

    McLennan also argued that the prosecution has offered no evidence to prove that the alleged special circumstances — kidnapping and torture — showed intent on Hill’s part to murder Myers.

    “That’s the horrible tragedy of this case,” McLennan said. “There seems to be no motive at all.”

    Prosecutor Tim Covello argued that McLennan was twisting the evidence in the case to be “how he’d like the evidence to read.”

    “He’s asking the court to adopt his own interpretation of the circumstantial evidence,” Covello said.

    Transcripts from the preliminary hearing show sufficient evidence to support LaBarbera’s ruling, Duffy said.

    A trial-setting conference in the case is set for Aug. 5 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, Department 2.

    (source: Santa Maria Times)

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    Trial-setting conference delayed in Myers case

    A trial-setting conference for a first-degree murder case involving five defendants, one who is facing the death penalty if convicted, has been delayed until early October.

    Attorneys in the Dystiny Myers case were expected to set a trial date today, however, the individual defense lawyers wanted more time and requested the hearing be moved back.

    A new trial-setting conference was set for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 3 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court .

    The body of Myers, 15, of Santa Maria was found in Santa Margarita in northern San Luis Obispo County in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 2010. She had been beaten, hogtied, duct-taped from head-to-toe and burned.

    Investigators believe the teen died sometime between Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, when her body was discovered in a shallow grave near Highway 58.

    Myers died from manual asphyxiation and blunt-force trauma. She also had toxic levels of methamphetamine in her system, which contributed to her death, according to sheriff and coroner officials.

    Charged in the case are: Ty Michael Hill of Santa Maria, Nipomo residents Rhonda Wisto, her son, Frank Jacob York ,and Jason Greenwell, and Cody Miller of Fresno.

    All five have been charged with first-degree murder, torture, kidnapping and aiding-and-abetting for the teen's death. Hill is the only one in the group who is facing the death penalty if convicted in the case.

    Read more: http://santamariatimes.com/news/loca...#ixzz1UCjoewVQ

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    Alleged killers of Dystiny Myers to go on trial in September 2012

    The trial for the five people accused of murdering 15-year-old Dystiny Myers of Santa Maria will be next September, nearly two years after the teen was killed somewhere between Nipomo and Santa Margarita. San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera on Monday set the trial for Sept. 10, 2012.

    The prosecutor had pushed for an earlier date of March 1. Defense attorneys for Ty Michael Hill of Santa Maria, hoping to prolong the trial’s start, asked for a date about 18 months from now.

    San Luis Obispo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Timothy Covello said that he’d object to any further delay in the start of the trial past Sept. 10, 2012.

    Hill’s attorneys said their investigative and legal work would involve preparing a time-consuming defense against a possible death penalty sentence as well as a murder charge. Hill is the only one of the five facing the death penalty.

    Myers was believed to have been killed somewhere between Nipomo and Santa Margarita, where her body was found dumped and burned in a remote grass field on Sept. 26, 2010.

    Pre-trial hearings are expected to include arguments about whether the jury can hear certain key evidence.

    One of Hill’s defense attorneys, William McLennan, argued Monday that the death penalty should be dropped against his client.

    LaBarbera said he’d allow Hill’s lawyers their new argument and a written response from Covello. But he said he’d likely rule against dropping the death penalty.

    McLennan argued in court that the special circumstances charged against Hill, which are required for the death penalty, are unconstitutional.

    Those circumstances include kidnapping and torture. McLennan’s argument in court Monday focused on whether the alleged kidnapping might have involved incidental transportation involving Myers instead of an intended kidnapping.

    Covello referenced arguments that he had made when Hill’s attorneys sought to get the death penalty dropped in July in a motion to dismiss the case. Covello previously said the facts of the case as presented at a preliminary hearing support the death penalty charges against Hill.

    The others charged with murder in the case include Jason Adam Greenwell, Frank Jacob York and Rhonda Maye Wisto, all of Nipomo, and Cody Lane Miller of Fresno.

    Each has pleaded not guilty. All are in custody in San Luis Obispo County Jail, where they are being held without bail.

    Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/10...#ixzz1Zp00TDjs

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    Dystiny Myers’ case evidence subject of legal fight in SLO County

    Attorneys for one of the five people accused of killing Dystiny Myers wrangled in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday over how and when to release evidence, such as the slain teen’s tissue samples.

    The lawyers representing death penalty defendant Ty Michael Hill of Santa Maria argued before Judge Barry LaBarbera for the release of evidence they’d like to review.

    The physical evidence that they’re pressing prosecutors to turn over includes DNA samples from each of the defendants. They also want to see records of who is visiting the defendants in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

    Hill and four others are accused in the torture and killing of Myers, a 15-year-old from Santa Maria whose body was found dumped and burned in a remote grass field in Santa Margarita on Sept. 26, 2010.

    Hill has pleaded not guilty to murder. He faces the death penalty because of special circumstances charges involving kidnapping and torture.

    Frank Jacob York, Rhonda Maye Wisto and Jason Adam Greenwell, all of Nipomo, and Cody Lane Miller of Fresno have each pleaded not guilty to murder charges. They do not face the death penalty.

    The trial is scheduled for Aug. 6. Each of the defendants is being held in County Jail without bail.

    As prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed details regarding the terms of reviewing evidence, LaBarbera said he wants each of the five defendants’ attorneys to also come to the same agreement on the conditions for the examination with the prosecutors.

    San Luis Obispo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello and Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Wolcott argued for documentation of who’s reviewing the evidence at any given time.

    They expressed concerns for the possibility that the evidence could be tampered with or lost.

    Hill’s lawyers, Bill McLellan and Tom Allen, argued for the release of physical evidence regardless of whether the other defendants’ lawyers agree to the terms of the release of evidence.

    They argued that they have a right to prepare for their case regardless of the co-defendants’ positions.

    But LaBarbera said he doesn’t believe the other lawyers will have a problem with signing off on an agreement and said that if they do, a return appearance to court would be scheduled for Jan. 26.

    Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/01...#storylink=cpy

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    Defense lawyer in Dystiny Myers case says evidence wasn’t presented that could have affected whether death penalty charges were brought

    The defense attorneys for murder suspect Ty Michael Hill argued Thursday that crucial evidence wasn’t handed over by prosecutors before a preliminary hearing. Attorneys say that evidence may show 15-year-old Dystiny Myers was dead at a home in Nipomo before her body was taken to Santa Margarita, where it was found partially burned in September 2010.

    Defense lawyer Bill McLennan argued in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, alongside his co-attorney Tom Allen, that Jason Greenwell, one of the five defendants charged in the murder of Myers, told investigators that the teen was dead before the body was taken to Santa Margarita in the back of a truck.

    McLennan argued that the evidence helps disprove that kidnapping and torture occurred — the special circumstances alleged that allow the prosecution to charge the death penalty for Hill, the only defendant facing that charge.

    Prosecutors allege that Myers was kidnapped and tortured while being taken to Santa Margarita. But San Luis Obispo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello countered the contention of McLennan and Allen, saying Greenwell’s interview with District Attorney’s Office investigator Isabel Funaro doesn’t show that he knew Myers was dead.

    And, in fact, in the same interview, Covello said Greenwell told Funaro that he might have seen Myers moving in the back of the truck.

    Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled against the defense’s motion to remove the possibility Hill could face the death penalty.

    LaBarbera said that other statements made, according to testimony at preliminary hearings, seemed to indicate that Myers may have been moving in the truck and thus alive.

    Enough evidence was presented to allow the charges as filed, LaBarbera said.

    The judge also said the prosecutors don’t have to show all the evidence to the defense at the preliminary stage anyway, though they must closer to the trial date in August, under state law. Myers, who was from Santa Maria, was killed on Sept. 26, 2010, after being beaten, bound and partially burned, according to prosecutors.

    Pleading not guilty to murder charges are five defendants: Cody Lane Miller of Fresno; Greenwell of Nipomo; Frank Jacob York of Nipomo; Rhonda Maye Wisto of Nipomo; and Hill, of Santa Maria. McLennan said the interview Greenwell gave to Funaro wasn’t made available to Hill’s defense attorney at the time of the preliminary hearing and should have been.

    But Covello wrote in an opposition to the defense motion that Funaro asked a series of questions to Greenwell that make it unclear whether he was responding to an inquiry about whether Myers was dead or not.

    Here is the exchange, according to Covello’s court filing:

    Funaro: Did you think she was dead at that point (at the Nipomo home)? ... Was she still moving? Could you tell if she was breathing? Her eyes open?

    Greenwell: No. You couldn’t really see her eyes but…

    Funaro: How come?

    Greenwell: There was tape over them?

    Funaro: Ok.

    Greenwell: …but yeah.

    McLennan argued that Greenwell’s “but yeah” comment referred to her being dead at the Nipomo home, while Covello argued his first answer to the question was “no.”

    Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/01...#storylink=cpy

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    Trial for suspects in Dystiny Myers murder could be delayed past August

    The starting date for the trial for five defendants in the Dystiny Myers' murder case could be delayed beyond August.

    In a hearing today in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, Judge Barry LaBarbera said that the date could slip because there was no agreement on how defense attorneys can examine certain evidence. As a result, whenever a defense attorney wants to review evidence that requires analysis, like blood or DNA samples, a motion will have to be filed for LaBarbera to review.

    Myers, who was from Santa Maria, was killed on Sept. 26, 2010 after being beaten, bound and partially burned, according to prosecutors.

    The five defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty to murder: Cody Lane Miller of Fresno; Jason Adam Greenwell of Nipomo; Frank Jacob York of Nipomo; Rhonda Maye Wisto of Nipomo; and Ty Michael Hill, of Santa Maria. Hill is the only one of the five also facing death penalty charges.

    Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/02...#storylink=cpy

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