Monday, September 24 , 2018, 11:27 pm | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Third Double-Homicide Trial Against Corey Lyons Expected to End in December

Sister Colleen Lyons Zitelli testifies about a phone call she received from the suspect on the day of the shootings

The Corey Lyons double homicide criminal trial is expected to end in mid-December, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill said Monday.

Article Image
Corey John Lyons

Lyons is accused of killing his brother, Daniel, and his brother’s life partner, Barbara Scharton, on May 4, 2009, in their Mesa home. Neighbors called police after hearing shots coming from the home, and when authorities made their way in, they found the two bodies shot to death in different rooms.

This is the third trial; the first one ended with a mistrial, and the second ended in a hung jury with a 7-5 split decision. Jurors for this trial are bused in every day from Solvang.

After being at the helm for the first two trials, Senior Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss was replaced by Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen. Lyons is represented by defense attorney Robert Sanger.

Much of the criminal case has focused on the civil lawsuit between the brothers over the home Lyons built for the couple. After mediation, the lawsuit was slated to be settled for $100,000 cash, a $100,000 or $150,000 note on the Lyons’ Goleta home, and their empty property as well. The couple would have to refinance their home to get the cash, and initially there was the threat of Corey Lyons losing his contractor’s license with the lawsuit. The settlement papers were scheduled to be signed May 4 — the day Daniel Lyons and Scharton were killed.

After Daniel Lyons was killed, sister Colleen Lyons Zitelli represented his estate and the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice.

This week, Zitelli testified in Hill’s courtroom about a 3:30 a.m. phone call she received from Corey Lyons on the day of the shootings. Lyons wasn’t in his Goleta home when police visited around 3 that morning, and phone records show he made the phone call from the office of Hilary Harwin, a friend and former employer. The office is located across a dog run from the Lyons’ Lassen Drive home.

At the end of Monday’s day in court, Zonen pressed Zitelli about two particular phrases Lyons used in the conversation: “It’s over” and “This is not a confession.”

When asked whether she thought his remark of “it’s over” referred to the settlement, she said she hadn’t made any conclusions at the time. Zonen also asked what she thought was meant by, “This is not a confession.”

“I don’t remember what I thought,” she said, adding that she didn’t remember whether it seemed out of context for their conversation. She said it was about a half-hour later that she tried to call him back by hitting redial and dialing his cell phone because she was worried about the way he sounded.

Around 3 a.m., police were searching Lyons’ home, truck and looking into the motor home parked across the street. Santa Barbara police Officer Thomas Eccles testified that Lyons’ wife, Mildred, seemed “confused and concerned as to why she couldn’t find him.”

Around 9 a.m., Lyons stepped out of the motor home and walked to his house, which is when Eccles approached him and escorted him to the front yard to be handcuffed.

The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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
Email
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 >