Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 6:26 am | Fair 39º


New Trial Under Way for Murder Suspect Corey Lyons

Testimony centers on claims of unreported wages and talks with former employer

After a mistrial was declared at the end of last year, double-murder suspect Corey Lyons was in court again Thursday after a new trial began this week.

Article Image
Corey John Lyons

Lyons is accused of shooting his brother, 55-year-old Daniel Lyons, and his brother’s life partner, 48-year-old Barbara Scharton, in their Mesa home on May 4, 2009.

Lyons, owner and contractor with Select Construction, was involved in a civil lawsuit with his brother. Daniel Lyons filed the lawsuit in October 2008 against his brother for worker’s compensation for construction on the couple’s home, and involved as much as $1.2 million in unreported wages.

Gregory Mason, Daniel Lyons’ lawyer in the civil suit, talked Thursday about the allegation that Corey Lyons didn’t report all of his employee earnings to state oversight boards. An e-mail dated April 15, 2008, that Scharton sent to Daniel Lyons also was shown in which she outlined her allegations against Corey Lyons. Scharton’s e-mail claimed that Corey Lyons underreported payroll to a state board, resulting in his license being automatically revoked. She wrote that because the contractor was unlicensed, the owner of the home didn’t owe anything.

The last sentence in the e-mail was striking. “Corey is in trouble ...” was written just before Scharton’s name was signed on the e-mail.

Whether to admit handwritten notes of Daniel Lyons also was under discussion, but the document was undated, and Judge Brian Hill chose not to allow the document to be presented to the jury. Hill encouraged both attorneys to move on from using Mason as a witness. He said the civil case between the brothers is for context for the jury.

After the break, Mason said he had seen no indication that Corey Lyons had returned the couple’s house keys to their home.

Another witness took the stand Thursday. Jim Cushman, a friend of Corey Lyons and his former employer, testified that Lyons had worked for him as a part of his construction business in the early 1980s.

In April 2009, Lyons went to Cushman to ask for a loan while the lawsuit was going on with his brother. Cushman said Lyons admitted skimping on worker’s comp, and in return, Cushman said he admonished Lyons. The pair came to an agreement that should Lyons need it, Cushman would buy his home for less than appraised value and sell it back to Lyons eventually. The house was never appraised, and the deal never went through, but Cushman said that during the discussions that Lyons broke down in tears more than once.

“He was disappointed that his brother had sued him,” Cushman said. Of selling the house, “he did not want to uproot his family.”

One phone call to Cushman came before Lyons was arrested, and Cushman said Lyons was “distraught.”

“I told him not to do anything stupid,” Cushman said.

The last witness to take the stand Thursday was Keith Fredericks, a supervising investigator at the District Attorney’s Office, who was working in the fraud division when Scharton brought the complaint against Corey Lyons to the office. Fredericks began investigating the worker’s comp claims in 2009. 

Lyons’ trial will resume at 10 a.m. Friday.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >