Lawyers for man convicted in three Woodland aggravated murders t - KPTV - FOX 12

Lawyers for man convicted in three Woodland aggravated murders to file for new trial

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Brent Luyster in court Monday (KPTV) Brent Luyster in court Monday (KPTV)
Brent Luyster in court Monday (KPTV) Brent Luyster in court Monday (KPTV)

It was a bombshell in a Clark County courtroom Monday, as lawyers for Brent Luyster asked the judge to delay sentencing him on convictions for three aggravated murders, and other charges, so they can file a motion for a new trial.

The announcement was made moments before Luyster’s sentencing was set to begin, and was met with angry, audible reactions from the dozens of family members of the victims gathered in the courtroom.

Specifically at issue: Luyster shaved his head toward the end of his trial, and jurors saw him that way on the last day of proceedings. His lawyers are essentially saying that could have influenced the jury’s decision to find him guilty in the case.

Now, they’ll file a motion for a new trial and prosecutors will have time to respond before everyone meets back in court on Dec. 15.

Luyster is facing the possibility of life without parole after being found guilty in the aggravated murders of Zachary Thompson, Joseph Lamar and Janell Knight.

Investigators say Luyster shot them – and a fourth victim, Breanne Leigh – at a Woodland home in July 2016. Leigh, who was shot in the face, was the sole survivor and testified against Luyster at trial.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies also said Luyster tried to escape from jail after his arrest, but failed.

Family members of the victims are very angry with the defense team’s decision, and told FOX 12 that Luyster is a coward who they believe shaved his head thinking a verdict had already been reached in the case.

“It is so baloney, you know he did that on purpose. He shaved his head, he chose to do it, he’s the one who thought it was over. Why are we having to suffer for it?” said Danette Anderson, the mother of murder victim Joseph Lamar. “People came from everywhere, from long distances for this. He is a weak, evil man.”

“He’s a coward,” added Lamar’s sister, Abia Nunn. “He’s scared to go to the penitentiary because he knows he screwed up, he’s a coward and he’s going to pull any strings he can right now. The shaving his head was his cocky little nature, thinking everything was done, and now he wants to pull it up. Did he use it to try and be able and try to get a new trial? Quite possibly. He’s a coward.”

Prosecutors told family members they were surprised by the move and expected to go through with sentencing Monday.

Now, proceedings against Luyster are on hold until Dec. 15.

Investigators said Luyster is a white supremacist who committed the murders while out on bail in an assault case. Luyster has a long, violent criminal history.

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