One of the five defendants in the ongoing Dystiny Myers murder trial learned she won’t face the death penalty if convicted.
At a March 17 preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, prosecutors announced they won’t seek capital charges against Rhonda Wisto, 47, of Nipomo, who is accused of being the leader of a methamphetamine ring and ordering the September 2010 kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Myers.
Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty for defendant Ty Hill, 28, of Santa Maria. Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello had previously requested to reserve the right to seek the same sentence for Wisto.
The District Attorney’s Office is not seeking the death penalty against three other defendants: Jason Greenwell, 21; Frank York, 19; and Cody Lane Miller, 22, of Fresno. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors haven’t commented on why they’re seeking a harsher sentence for Hill than the others, citing a gag order issued on the trial by Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera.
Prosecutors allege the five defendants began turning on each other after murdering Myers and burning her body in a remote Santa Margarita field. In interviews with investigators, four of the defendants recounted essentially the same story, but the details differed, with each suspect de-emphasizing his involvement in Myers’ death.
According to detective testimony, York allegedly said Wisto wanted Myers killed because the girl had been “disrespectful.”