The woman alleged to have ordered the murder of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers won’t face the death penalty, a prosecutor stated in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello had said at a previous hearing that he was reserving a decision on whether Rhonda Maye Wisto would face capital charges in the ongoing homicide case against her and four others.
Covello has already filed a death penalty charge against defendant Ty Michael Hill. But he said Thursday that he won’t seek the death penalty against Wisto or the three other defendants — Jason Adam Greenwell, Frank Jacob York and Cody Lane Miller — who each face a maximum penalty of life without the possibility of parole if they’re convicted.
Myers’ body was found beaten and burned in a field in Santa Margarita in September, and statements made by some of the defendants to police led to the arrests of the five people who later were charged with the homicide.
Covello did not explain why he wasn’t seeking the death penalty against Wisto and has refused all media requests for comment outside court — citing a gag order granted by Judge Barry LaBarbera.
Santa Maria attorney Thomas Allen appeared in court Thursday and said he’d be willing to take on Hill’s case because he qualifies under state law to handle death penalty cases. He may replace attorney Raymond Allen, who has been handling the case.
Wisto’s attorney, David Wells, also said he may step down from representing Wisto — saying he was qualified to do so but he may not have the energy necessary to handle the case.