According to one of the men charged in her death, the murder of Dystiny Myers was “like killing a fly with a bazooka,” a sheriff’s deputy testified Wednesday.
During a three-day pretrial hearing this week, several firefighters and law enforcement officers testified about statements made by Cody Miller, one of five defendants charged with the Sept. 26, 2010 murder of the 15-year-old Santa Maria teen.
On Wednesday, Deputy John McKenney testified that he was guarding Miller at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center after the murder when Miller talked to him about the crime. According to McKenney, Miller described the following:
The day of the murder, he was riding with an unconscious Myers in the back of a vehicle – previously described as a pickup truck with a camper shell. Myers began to regain consciousness as they were parked at a Chevron gas station, and another defendant, Ty Michael Hill, gave him a look suggesting, “take care of business.” So Miller punched Myers four times.
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Later, after the group drove from Nipomo to Santa Margarita, Miller was told to carry Myers. At one point, Miller said he dropped the slight-framed girl.
“That’s when Ty Hill finished her off,” he allegedly told McKenney.
Around that time in the conversation, Miller told McKenney, “It was like killing a fly with a bazooka.”
McKenney did not elaborate on the comment.
During a preliminary hearing in 2011, a coroner testified that Myers died of asphyxiation with blunt force trauma and a toxic level of methamphetamine in her body. According to testimony at that hearing, defendant Rhonda Maye Wisto ordered the others to beat and kill Myers for being disrespectful. Myers was allegedly beaten at Wisto’s home before the group put her in a bag and transported her.
After Myers was dumped into a hole the group had dug off of Parkhill Road near Santa Margarita, they turned on Miller, according to his account. After he was struck with a shovel, Miller fell in the hole, but he managed to get out. As he ran away, defendant Frank Jacob York chased him, but Miller didn’t think York tried hard to catch him.
Later, as firefighters responded to a grass fire at the scene, Miller returned, crying for help and talking about a murder. Myers’ partially burned body was found at the fire site.
After Miller was taken to Sierra Vista, detectives continued to press him for information.
Detectives went to Wisto’s residence and took a photo of her home.
“At that point, we thought we had a minimum of two crime scenes,” testified J.T. Camp, then a sheriff’s detective who now works for the District Attorney’s Office.
Detectives texted a photo of the residence to a deputy at the hospital, and Miller confirmed it was the location where Myers had been beaten earlier.
Even while guarded at the hospital, McKenney said, Miller was frightened.
“He’d been looking around to see if Ty was going to come in and get him,” McKenney said.
Testimony in the pre-trial hearing ended Wednesday. Attorneys will return Dec. 17 to argue whether some statements Miller made can be admitted as evidence.