Murder trial may split to 2 juries

Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera said Monday he will issue a ruling Oct. 2 on how many juries there will be for the five defendants accused of killing Dystiny Myers two years ago.

All five defendants and their lawyers appeared in LaBarbera’s court Monday for various rulings. The trials are expected to begin Jan. 28.

LaBarbera said he is inclined to have two separate juries. One jury would be for one defendant and the other for the remaining defendants.

One jury could be for Ty Michael Hill, a Santa Maria man who faces special enhancements and a possible death penalty. Prosecutors have also proposed having a separate trial for defendant Frank Jacob York of Nipomo.

Jason Adam Greenwell, also of Nipomo, intends to plead guilty and testify for the prosecution, and would not be tried. The remaining defendants are Cody Lane Miller, a Fresno man who claims he had been sodomized and cut by Hill at one time, and Rhonda Maye Wisto of Nipomo, who has made no statements to investigators.

The five are accused of killing Myers, a 15-year-old Santa Maria girl whose body was found beaten and burned near Santa Margarita on Sept. 26, 2010.

Of the five, only Hill faces the death penalty.