PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Brent Luyster was convicted of killing 3 people in a Woodland home in 2016 by a jury that deliberated more than a day on the charges.
The jury found the 37-year-old Luyster guilty on all charges on Friday morning — 3 counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder and 2 counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik told KOIN 6 News.
Jury began deliberations on Wednesday after 8 days of testimony. He will be sentenced December 4.
> Joseph Lamar
> Janell Knight
> Zach Thompson
> Breanne Leigh (wounded)
Luyster fatally shot Joseph Mark Lamar, Zachary Thompson and Janell Renee Knight on July 15, 2016 in Woodland. A fourth person, Breanne Leigh, was shot and survived.
After the verdict, family members of the victims said they can finally breathe after a year-and-a-half.
Abia Nunn, who was Joseph Lamar’s sister and the cousin of Zachary Thompson, told KOIN 6 News she was extremely stressed coming into court this day.
“Hearing those words (guilty on all counts) just felt like someone took a tremendous weight off our shoulders,” Nunn said.
“Every second of every day I think about him. Every second of every day,” Danette Anderson, who is Lamar’s mom and Thompson’s aunt, said. “Just can’t trust people. Haters are no good and that’s what he (Luyster) was.”
Nunn said she doesn’t think Luyster “should be breathing, but the justice system did their job and they did it well.”
She said the prosecutors didn’t miss a thing. “They didn’t miss a beat. They stayed on top of it. They weren’t letting him get away with” anything.
Nunn said her brother was her best friend. “Now I can go back to his grave and tell him it’s done.”
The family believes Luyster killed Lamar, Knight and Thompson because of a federal investigation circling around him. Nunn said Luyster thought he killed all 4.
“His main regret is probably not putting that last bullet in Bree,” she said, adding Breeanne Leigh is their “savior,” their “hero.”
Nunn said the guilty verdict on all charges is everything they wanted.
“It’s beautiful. This man will never see light again, and I’m OK with that.”
Prosecutors rested their case on Leigh’s testimony. She identified Luyster as the shooter and prosecutors said her testimony was corroborated by the physical evidence.
Luyster’s attorney Chuck Buckley questioned police’s handling of the case, saying they rushed to judgment and wanted to pin the deaths on his client.
During the trial, Luyster’s juvenile son was called to testify, but he refused. With sheriff’s deputies standing near the witness stand, the boy told the judge:
“I just don’t feel like talking. I’m trying to get my time over with and get out. You guys waste my time calling me down to court. I had to sit a whole 6 hours in a holding cell,” before unleasing a profane tirade directed at the judge.
He was held in contempt of court and taken away.
In February, Brent Luyster tried but failed to escape from the Clark County Jail. He was foiled by a deputy on a routine security check.
Luyster was still facing charges for allegedly pistol whipping his ex-girlfriend — the mother of his child — in May 2016 . When he was arrested that time, deputies heard shots fired and eventually talked him into surrendering. He was out on bail on this particular charge at the time of the murders.
In 2013, Luyster, his brother Robert and a man named Donald McElfish were arrested for an alleged racial attack at the QuarterDeck Bar in Vancouver. All 3 have with ties to a white supremacy group and were charged at that time with 2nd-degree felony assault and racially motivated malicious harassment for the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.