Jurors in the Corey Lyons double-homicide case started deliberations Tuesday after Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen made his rebuttal argument.
The prosecution accuses Lyons, of Goleta, of fatally shooting his brother, Daniel Lyons, and his brother’s partner, Barbara Scharton, in their Aurora Avenue home in the early morning hours of May 4, 2009.
A contentious lawsuit between the brothers regarding the home’s construction, done by Corey Lyons, has been argued to be the motive behind the killings.
While defense attorney Bob Sanger argues that Lyons was in his motor home across the street from his Goleta home all night except to leave and call his sister, Zonen argues that Lyons shot the couple, hid the weapons and sneaked back into the motor home. When Santa Barbara police officers came to question Lyons around 3 a.m., about 90 minutes after the shootings, he wasn’t in the house or motor home, which both his wife, Mildred Lyons, and police offices had looked in, Zonen said.
In his rebuttal argument, Zonen rejected Sanger’s argument that there were multiple shooters. Instead, Zonen argued that the single shooter was in the house for four minutes or less and that police officers did a thorough investigation of the crime scene.
The attorneys also gave different explanations for the gunshot residue found on Lyons’ hands, truck, gloves and fanny pack. Zonen said firing 14 shots in the bedrooms would cover the assailant in residue, while Sanger argued that the residue on the hands could be from contamination during police custody and the rest from previous use of Lyons’ gun collection.
Studies of contamination in the police station never found more than a handful of particles total, and Lyons had 20 particles on his hands that were characteristic of gunshot residue, Zonen said in his rebuttal.
The guns used in the murders were never found.
The 12 jurors went into deliberations Tuesday morning and must come to a unanimous decision to reach either a guilty or not guilty verdict for the charges.
Lyons is facing two first-degree murder charges with special allegations of use of a firearm, multiple murders, lying in wait and murder for financial gain. If the jury doesn’t unanimously agree to those charges, it will be asked to consider two second-degree murder charges as well as residential burglary and entering a residence with the intent to commit a felony.
The case has spent ample time in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, with the first attempt ending in a mistrial and the second resulting in a hung jury, with a 7-5 decision. Jurors for the current trial are being bused in each day from northern Santa Barbara County.