The second of five people charged in the brutal slaying of a Santa Maria teenage girl two years ago pleaded guilty Monday in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.
Cody Lane Miller, 22, — the defendant who tipped off authorities about the crime — agreed to plead guilty to premeditated first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and other charges stemming from the killing of Dystiny Myers, 15, in September 2010.
In exchange for his plea, Miller will receive a prison term of 39 years and four months.
Miller also is expected to testify in the trial of Rhonda Maye Wisto and Frank Jacob York, now the only two of five defendants who haven’t agreed to plea deals.
As detailed in pretrial hearings last month, several firefighters responded to a fire near Santa Margarita on Sept. 26, the day Myers was killed. Miller appeared out of the darkness and began talking about a murder that had taken place. His statements to first responders broke the case.
While the Fresno man admitted to stuffing a glove into Myers’ mouth and punching her several times, he said he was coerced into it by the other defendants.
He told authorities that defendant Ty Michael Hill raped him with a baseball bat the day of the murder.
The charges Miller pleaded guilty to include burglary, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.
Under the agreement, Miller will be eligible for parole. But under California law, inmates convicted of murder are not eligible to earn good behavior credit. So Miller won’t be eligible for parole until he is 62 years old.
Last week, Hill, the only defendant facing the death penalty in the case, pleaded guilty to murder, and received a life term without the possibility of parole.
Defendant Jason Greenwell is expected to plead guilty and also has agreed to testify.
That leaves Wisto, who allegedly ordered the killing after Myers allegedly acted disrespectfully toward her, and her son, Frank Jacob York, still facing murder charges.
Their trial, set to begin Feb. 25, is expected to last four to five weeks.
Miller’s formal sentencing was tentatively set for May 15.