Jury selection began Feb. 27 in the long-awaited trial for two of the five people originally accused in the 2010 murder of 15-year-old Nipomo resident Dystiny Myers.
Rhonda Maye Wisto, 49, and her son, Frank Jacob York, 21, both of Nipomo, are each facing counts of first-degree murder and conspirancy with various enhancements for their suspected role in the drug-related crime that prosecutors say involve a methamphetamine ring, allegedly led by Wisto.
Other defendants involved in the case have accepted plea deals, and one has already been sentenced. Another has agreed to testify for the prosecution, and a third awaits sentencing.
Former Santa Maria resident Ty Michael Hill, 29, the only defendant that faced the death penalty, pleaded guilty Jan. 3, and was subsequently sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Jason Adam Greenwell, 22, agreed to a deal from the county DA’s Office to take the stand against his former friends in exchange for a reduced sentence. According to a brief filed by Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Covello, Greenwell admitted his participation in the crime, though he hasn’t yet entered a plea, and sentencing has been deferred pending his cooperation in the trial.
Cody Lane Miller, 22, of Fresno, pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 and is scheduled for sentencing on May 15. According to the DA’s Office, Miller is facing 39 years and four months to life in prison.
The case has drawn notoriety for its brutality, and the trial is expected to be highly attended. SLO Superior Court Presiding Judge Barry LaBarbera issued a gag order in early hearings, preventing everyone involved in the case from commenting outside the courtroom.
As of Feb. 27, some 500 residents sat in the potential jury pool. Opening statements are tentatively expected for March 4.