Around 3 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2010, Ty Hill approached the counter at a Pismo Beach Chevron, took off a glove – displaying a bloody right hand – and nervously said to the clerk, “You look like you’re having one of those days.”
After Hill paid $10 for gas, the clerk, Mark Gabel, watched curiously as Hill walked to the back of the store and began trying on sunglasses. Meanwhile, just a few feet outside the gas station, in the pickup truck Hill had driven, a badly wounded and hog-tied Dystiny Myers put up one last struggle for her life.
After Hill paid for drinks and flashlights, he told Gabel, “My day’s gonna get better.” And just as he walked off, Adrian Souza, a Pismo Beach police officer, stepped up to the counter with snacks, unaware of the bound teen in the back of a truck in the parking lot.
That disturbing scene, captured by the gas station’s security cameras and described by Gabel, was presented to jurors Wednesday in the murder trial of Rhonda Wisto and her son, Frank Jacob York. Prosecutors allege that Wisto ordered the killing while York participated in the meth-fueled attack on Myers earlier that morning with three other men.
Two of those men – Hill and Cody Miller – have pled guilty in the case. Jason Greenwell, who like Miller plans to testify, has agreed to plead guilty.
According to court testimony, Myers was attacked, then bound at Wisto’s Nipomo home before the four male suspects drove her to rural Santa Margarita. Along the way, they stopped at the Chevron gas station on Five Cities Drive.
There, Greenwell used the restroom while Hill paid for gas and other items.
In the truck, Myers began to stir despite having suffered multiple skull fractures during the attack. In an attempt to silence her, according to previous court hearings, Miller punched her and stuffed a glove in her mouth. Prosecutors believe Myers died later, as the group drove toward Santa Margarita, where Myers was dumped in a pit and burned.
The defendants were allegedly part of a criminal group, led by Hill and Wisto.
A woman who frequently did drugs at Wisto’s home testified that she saw lots of drug sales at the home – and that the drug activity increased when Hill showed up.
“He just came out of nowhere,” she said.
Hill, who claimed to be a bail bondsman, carried handcuffs, she said, and frequently had weapons, including knives and machetes. Hill allegedly brought Myers to Wisto’s home, where she smoked meth and slept in the same bed as York.
“She was just a little girl,” the witness said. “And she was high. Very high.”
Like several witnesses in the trial, the witness was afraid to testify because the defendants have allegedly associated with gangs and skinhead groups. She said Myers, though slight in stature, acted “10 feet tall,” spoke loudly and had even adopted a gang-like name – Aces.
Another witness, Danny Morin, previously testified that Myers – who once sang in her church’s children’s choir – spoke like a gangbanger.
The woman witness, who occasionally gave Myers clothing, saw the runaway teen hours before her death at Wisto’s home.
She returned to Wisto’s home again at 6:30 a.m. When she asked where Myers was, the witness said, Hill gave her a “don’t ask” look.
“It never crossed my mind that they had just done that,” she said, referring to the murder. “So I didn’t think twice about it.”
The witness said the defendants thought Myers was loud and disrespectful.
“She was so high, she was constantly talking and being loud,” she said. “And I think they found her obnoxious.”
Wisto, she said, “was ready for her to get out of there.”
On Wednesday, state criminalist Carla Levi testified that York’s DNA was found on a bat believed to be used in the attack.