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

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the name of one of the lawyers representing murder suspect Ty Michael Hill was misspelled. His name is Bill McLennan.

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 McLennan 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.