Pixel Tracker

Friday, December 14 , 2018, 11:04 pm | Fair 50º


Mother, Son Found Guilty of Murdering Santa Maria Teen

Frank Jacob York and Rhonda Maye Wisto found guilty in slaying of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers of Santa Maria

A Nipomo man and his mother were found guilty Friday of murdering 15-year-old Dystiny Myers of Santa Maria, and will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

The San Luis Obispo Superior Court jury’s decision to convict Frank Jacob York and Rhonda Maye Wisto of all charges against them puts an end to a 2 ½-year legal battle that spawned thousands of court documents and cost San Luis Obispo County more than $1 million.

As the verdict was read, Myers’ family sat in the front row of the courtroom with their heads bowed, their arms and hands linked.

Aileen Myers, Dystiny’s mother, trembled with tears streaming down her face as the first guilty verdict was read.

“I remember the day like yesterday when I was told (of Myers’ death),” said Kathy Clark, Dystiny’s grandmother. “I look at today as justice being served.”

Clark said the ending of the trial was really a beginning for her family. “She was just a baby,” Clark said. “They took so much from us.”

Click here to read more coverage of the case in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

“One of the things I want everyone to know is that Dystiny was a somebody,” Clark said.

Clark, standing flanked by her sisters, publicly thanked the District Attorney’s Office for their work on the case. “They put their heart and soul into this — for getting justice for Dystiny,” Clark said.

The jury convicted York and Wisto of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, and torture.

The two are scheduled to return to court May 8, when they will be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Three other defendants in the case — Ty Michael Hill of Santa Maria, Cody Lane Miller of Fresno and Jason Adam Greenwell of Nipomo — agreed to enter guilty pleas, avoiding trials. But Wisto, 49, wrote jailhouse notes about legal strategies she could pursue and refused to take a deal. During the trial, it was revealed that Wisto heard rumors that York, 22, might have been considering a deal with the prosecution, but ultimately he too chose to go to trial.

According to the prosecution’s evidence, Myers, a runaway from Santa Maria, arrived at Wisto’s Nipomo home with Hill. During her extended stay at Wisto’s home, she frequently used drugs and — according to the prosecution — was prostituted by the defendants. Meanwhile, Wisto was running a drug operation from her home, frequently doing business with local gang members and skinheads.

Prosecutor Tim Covello argued that respect was important for Wisto’s reputation with those groups. So when she believed Myers had shown her disrespect, she ordered her killing. If Myers had just been kicked out of the house, Covello said, the teen might have told others about the drug activity and York sleeping with her.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 2010, the four males attacked Myers in York’s bedroom, where she was kicked, stomped and struck with fists, a baseball bat, brass knuckles and a sword. As they were beating her, Myers told them to tell her mother she loved her.

“She knew she was going to die,” Covello said during his closing argument. “They were in the process of killing her.”

After the attack, Myers was bound, stuffed in a duffel bag and driven to Santa Margarita.

“All of them committed the murder,” Covello said during his closing arguments, “and all of them aided and abetted.”

The prosecution believes she died during the drive.

After a pit was dug, Hill and York then turned on Miller, beating him with shovels. When Miller began to flee, York pursued him while Hill poured flammable fluids on Myers and ignited her body.

After the suspects left, firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire and were confronted by Miller. Bloodied and fearful of his life, Miller told firefighters about the murder, which broke the case.

Patrick S. Pemberton is a reporter with the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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 >