SANTA BARBARA — It’s deja vu all over again in the retrial of Corey Lyons, 51, accused of the shotgun slayings of his brother and girlfriend on May 4, 2010.
The current trial came to an end May 5, after 46 days of testimony and three days of jury deliberations that concluded with a 7-5 jury vote for acquittal.
In the pre-dawn hours of May 4, 2010, Lyons’ brother — a prominent Santa Barbara attorney — and his girlfriend, herself a former Fresno County assistant district attorney, were killed by shotgun blasts in the bedroom of their upscale Mesa home.
Corey Lyons and his brother had been engaged in a personal dispute over contracting services Corey provided in the construction of that million-dollar residence, which resulted in a long-running feud over finances and a series of mutual threats between the two siblings.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchinloss’ first attempt to successfully prosecute Lyons ended in December 2010 when a third Lyons brother made prejudicial statements from the witness stand that were, according to Judge Brian Hill, “out of bounds as prejudicial hearsay.”
That brother, Dr. Tom Lyons, said in unsolicited comments during the trial that he and other family members were certain of Corey Lyons’ guilt as soon as they heard about the murders.
Upon motion by defense counsel Robert Sanger — of some note locally for his successful 2005 legal defense of pop icon Michael Jackson against charges of having sex with a minor — the court granted a mistrial based upon those statements.
Auchinloss announced to the media that Lyons would be back in court again on May 17.
“I’m disappointed the jury couldn’t reach a verdict,” he acknowledged.
Following the verdict, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley expressed confidence in the prosecution’s case.
“Justice demands there be a retrial,” she said.
Defense attorney Sanger was less outspoken following the verdict, saying only: “It’s still a pending case, so I have no comment.”