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Wife Takes the Stand in Corey Lyons’ Double-Murder Trial

Mildred Lyons testifies about the lawsuit filed by her husband's brother, and his whereabouts at the time of the shootings

Mildred Lyons took the stand Tuesday in her husband’s double homicide trial and testified about his relationship with his four siblings.

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Corey John Lyons

Corey Lyons, 50, is accused of shooting his brother, 55-year-old Daniel Lyons, and his brother’s life partner, 48-year-old Barbara Scharton, in the early morning hours of May 4, 2009, in their Aurora Avenue home.

Millie Lyons is a witness with use immunity, meaning nothing she says can be used against her in court. She has been married to Corey Lyons for nearly 15 years and often has worked for his company, Select Construction, for smaller jobs such as painting and paperwork.

Corey Lyons had “very good” relationships with his brothers, Tom and Patrick, and sister Colleen, his wife said. She and Corey met through his brother Tom, an East Coast hospital director at the time, for whom they both worked for nearly 18 years ago.

She said Corey and Daniel Lyons “had a good relationship at one point in time. Prior to that, they didn’t have a relationship … just before 2009, it diminished. Totally.” She herself “hadn’t particularly liked Daniel for a long time.”

When questioned by prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss, she didn’t remember or disagree with earlier statements she said to detectives with the Santa Barbara Police Department.

She had called Daniel Lyons “an arrogant son of a b****” and had similar sentiments about Scharton.

“Did you feel that Barbara Scharton was a b****?” Auchincloss asked her.

“Yes,” she said.

Testimony hinted that Corey and Daniel Lyons’ mother had suggested the partnership in building the Aurora Avenue home, though no details came out Tuesday.

Mildred Lyons said she spent hours poring over the lawsuit that sprung from the home’s construction and felt it was “ridiculous.” She also felt that Corey Lyons had been set up by his brother from the beginning.

After much negotiation, 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 couple were “upset” over the settlement papers, which were scheduled to be signed May 4 — the day Daniel Lyons and Scharton were killed.

Since their deaths, Colleen Lyons has represented Daniel Lyons in the lawsuit, which was dismissed without prejudice in January.

Mildred Lyons also testified about her husband’s whereabouts the night before and the morning of the shootings. She said she went to bed about 9 p.m. and woke up at 1:30 a.m. to go to the bathroom. Her husband hadn’t gone to bed when she did, and though she saw the TV light on in the early morning hours, she didn’t look to see whether he was there.

At 3 a.m., she got a phone call and a visit from police, and then searched the house and looked into the motor home from the door and called out for Corey Lyons, to no avail. She didn’t know where he was or why he wasn’t home. His cell phone and money clip were in the back bedroom, where he sometimes slept because he snores.

“This was the first time you knew your husband not to be in his bed at 3 o’clock in the morning?” Auchincloss asked.

“Correct,” she said.

She also said she had been surprised to learn that Corey Lyons owned firearms at the time, adding that he owned some when they were married, but there weren’t guns in the house,

Corey Lyons was arrested at 9 a.m. coming out of the motor home. While the prosecution contends he went back into it after shooting the couple, the defense has suggested he was in the motor home the entire time, perhaps in the bathroom.

Also testifying Tuesday was Hilary Harwin, a friend and former employer of Corey Lyons.

On returning to her office on Monday, May 4, she said she found a note from Corey Lyons explaining that he had left his motorcycle in the parking lot, as it wouldn’t start. She also found his helmet, jacket, gloves and a fanny pack on a chair in the office, to which he had a key.

“I’ll pick it up tomorrow,” the note said.

Harwin said she hadn’t been to her office since Friday afternoon, and Lyons only ever came by to drop off or pick up paperwork — and he had done neither.

Phone records show a call was made from the office at 3:30 a.m., and there was an incoming call at 4:09 a.m. on May 4 to a number with a 707 area code, Auchincloss said. Harwin said she didn’t know of anyone being in her office at that time.

She reported the belongings to police, who took the items into evidence and towed the bike to the police station, where Detective Michael Claytor reported seeing it start without problem upon having the key put into the ignition.

Her office is located across a dog run from the Lyons’ Lassen Drive home.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed that, upon analysis of the jacket, a blood stain was found on the right cuff, with the DNA matching Corey Lyons.

A video was shown of a possible route between the office and Lyons’ home, which involved a bike path, climbing up a small hill and hopping a fence to get to the motor home with little likelihood of being seen at night.

Defense attorney Bob Sanger said it was not “odd” for Lyons to leave his motorcycle and gear at the office if he had broken down nearby, as the option of pushing the bike home was limited as the bike path has inclines and the only other routes involved going up Patterson Avenue, around Hollister Avenue and back to Lassen Drive — a long walk pushing a big motorcycle.

The jury trial continues Wednesday in Judge Brian Hill’s courtroom in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

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

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