Attorneys for two defendants in the Dystiny Myers kidnapping and murder trial have been dismissed.
On March 23, San Luis Obispo-based attorney Raymond Allen was told by Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera that he did not meet the requirements of the court to represent a murder defendant facing capital charges.
Allen was the court-appointed counsel for Ty Michael Hill, 28, of Santa Maria, the sole defendant facing the death penalty in the trial. According to requirements under the law, Allen was not qualified because he has never represented a defendant on a murder charge.
He has been replaced by San Luis Obispo-based attorney William McLennan and Santa Maria-based attorney Thomas Allen.
Raymond Allen told New Times he wished he could continue to represent Hill, but that the requirements of the court are straightforward.
“The judge made the right decision, and I need to put my own ego aside. Hill deserves the best representation he can get,” he said. “But personally, I wish I could be still involved.”
He said that over the past few months he developed a good relationship with Hill, finding him “forthcoming,” and “very appreciative of the help he was getting.”
“I’m strongly against the death penalty,” Allen said. “It does nothing to help the victims’ families or the rehabilitation of the [accused],” he said. “There is absolutely no benefit in having the state kill someone.”
Allen would not comment on specifics of the case, citing a gag order issued on the trial by LaBarbera.
As of press time on March 30, SLO-based attorney Thomas McCormick was slated to take over representation for Hill’s co-defendant, Rhonda Maye Wisto, 47, of Nipomo, pending approval from the DA’s Office. Wisto’s former appointed attorney, David Wells, had previously said in court his current schedule would not allow him to adequately defend Wisto.
All five defendants in the trial have pleaded not guilty to charges they participated in the murder of 15-year-old Dystiny Myers. A trial-setting conference is set for April 8.