Crime

Man serving life in prison for role in Dystiny Myers killing dies in custody

Cody Lane Miller, with his lawyer Gael Mueller, addresses the family of Dystiny Myers after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of the teen, in court Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in San Luis Obispo.
Cody Lane Miller, with his lawyer Gael Mueller, addresses the family of Dystiny Myers after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of the teen, in court Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in San Luis Obispo. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A Fresno man sentenced to life in prison for the 2010 murder of teenager Dystiny Myers, 15, in San Luis Obispo County died Saturday while in custody.

Cody Lee Miller, 25, one of five people serving prison time for Myers’ beating death, was found dead in his cell about 2:40 p.m. at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.

Krissy Khokhobashvili, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman, confirmed Miller’s death and said he did not have a cellmate; she referred all other questions to the Kern County Coroner’s Office.

Ray Pruitt, a spokesman for the Kern County Coroner’s Office, said Miller’s autopsy probably would be performed Monday.

On Sept. 26, 2010, Myers’ body was found beaten and partially burned in a field in Santa Margarita. The night she died, she was allegedly assaulted by multiple people and beaten with a baseball bat at a home in Nipomo before she was taken to Santa Margarita, according to court testimony. Myers, who was from Santa Maria, died from mechanical asphyxiation with blunt force trauma and a toxic level of meth in her system, according to testimony.

After the killing, Miller was beaten with a shovel for allegedly being a police informant and fled. He later told law enforcement about the incident.

Although Miller initially accepted a plea deal that would have ended with a prison term of 39 years and four months, he ultimately turned it down in favor of life in prison without parole.

The new plea prevented Miller from having to provide testimony during the other suspects’ trials, which was expected as part of his previous agreement; however, Miller’s lawyer said this did not factor into his decision.

All five suspects either pleaded guilty or were convicted of playing a role in Myers’ death.

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