Jurors on Tuesday saw the brass knuckles, baseball bat and sword allegedly used to murder 15-year-old Dystiny Myers.
According to the prosecution, four men used those weapons when they attacked the teenager in Nipomo on Sept. 26, 2010.
Rhonda Maye Wisto, prosecutors say, ordered the attack, while her son, Frank Jacob York, was one of the attackers. The mother and son are on trial in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Gary Walter, a pathologist, testified that Myers suffered fractures to the left and back sides of her head and numerous fractures to her ribs. She also suffered injuries to her face, neck, back, shoulders, legs and arms, he said.
When asked about the cause of death, Walter said, “It’s a combination of things.”
The injuries to Myers’ head and ribs would have constricted her breathing, he said, as would have ropes that left her hog-tied and connected to a pair of sweats tied around her neck. She had a glove stuffed in her mouth and potentially toxic levels of meth in her system, Walter said.
After Myers’ body was discovered in rural Santa Margarita, investigators quickly closed in on the suspects. Two were arrested near Wisto’s home while riding in her truck, which allegedly contained shovels, brass knuckles, a sword and blood.
While there is an abundance of physical evidence in the case, defense attorneys will debate who had what role.
Wisto’s attorney, Michael Cummins, said she wasn’t the ringleader of the attack, while York’s attorney, Gerald Carrasco, said his client arrived at Wisto’s house after Myers had been beaten.
Ken Jones, a forensic specialist for the Sheriff’s Office, said a blood-stained bat found at Wisto’s home contained prints matching York’s. And two of the others accused in the case, Cody Lane Miller and Jason Adam Greenwell — in protective custody at County Jail — are expected to testify that Wisto ordered the attack. Miller and Ty Michael Hill have already entered guilty pleas, while Greenwell has agreed to do so.
Also on Tuesday, witnesses who lived near Wisto said her home saw frequent traffic, which the prosecution will assert was drug-related. Craig Thole, who grew up with York, said he used to collect drug money for Wisto.
During his opening statement Monday, Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello said Hill and Wisto were partners in crime and that Hill introduced Myers to Wisto.