Thursday, October 27 , 2016, 8:17 pm | Mostly Cloudy 66º


Local News

Second Guilty Plea in Santa Maria Teen’s Slaying

Cody Lane Miller
Cody Lane Miller

The second of five people charged in the brutal slaying of a Santa Maria teenage girl two years ago pleaded guilty Monday in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

Cody Lane Miller, 22, — the defendant who tipped off authorities about the crime — agreed to plead guilty to premeditated first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and other charges stemming from the killing of Dystiny Myers, 15, in September 2010.

In exchange for his plea, Miller will receive a prison term of 39 years and four months.

Miller also is expected to testify in the trial of Rhonda Maye Wisto and Frank Jacob York, now the only two of five defendants who haven’t agreed to plea deals.

As detailed in pretrial hearings last month, several firefighters responded to a fire near Santa Margarita on Sept. 26, the day Myers was killed. Miller appeared out of the darkness and began talking about a murder that had taken place. His statements to first responders broke the case.

While the Fresno man admitted to stuffing a glove into Myers’ mouth and punching her several times, he said he was coerced into it by the other defendants.

He told authorities that defendant Ty Michael Hill raped him with a baseball bat the day of the murder.

The charges Miller pleaded guilty to include burglary, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

Under the agreement, Miller will be eligible for parole. But under California law, inmates convicted of murder are not eligible to earn good behavior credit. So Miller won’t be eligible for parole until he is 62 years old.

Last week, Hill, the only defendant facing the death penalty in the case, pleaded guilty to murder, and received a life term without the possibility of parole.

Defendant Jason Greenwell is expected to plead guilty and also has agreed to testify.

That leaves Wisto, who allegedly ordered the killing after Myers allegedly acted disrespectfully toward her, and her son, Frank Jacob York, still facing murder charges.

Their trial, set to begin Feb. 25, is expected to last four to five weeks.

Miller’s formal sentencing was tentatively set for May 15.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

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 >