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On May 2, 2009, at approximately 1:30 in the morning, attorneys Barbara Scharton and Daniel Lyons, were murdered by multiple gunshots in their home on Aurora Street, Santa Barbara, California. Daniel Lyons’ brother, Corey, was arrested the morning following the homicides and charged with their murders.

Fig.1 Deceased Barbara Scharton on her bed as found; the position of her body and legs indicates she was in the process of getting up from her bed when attacked. During the attack she apparently managed to position a pillow over her body.

Fig.2 The body after the pillows and bedspread were removed; the bed sheet around her body indicates she had pulled and partially wrapped it around her immediately prior to the assailant attack.

Fig.3 The right elbow of Scharton showing a superficial abrasion which was likely caused by the anterior frame of the revolver.

Fig.4 The crime scene.

Analyses of the crime scenes showed two or more assailants were likely, contrary to the prosecution’s theory of one assailant presented in the trial of Corey Lyons. The attack on Barbara Scharton in a bedroom on the first floor of the home involved a .22 caliber revolver (four discharges) and a 12 gauge shotgun (one discharge). Scharton’s death was by a shotgun discharge to her face. The attack on Daniel Lyons in a bedroom on the second floor involved a 38 caliber revolver (five discharges), a 12 gauge shotgun (four discharges), a physical struggle between one or more assailants, and two blows on his head with a hatchet. Lyons’ death was by exsanguination. Lyons’ body was staged and a bloodied cloth was taken from his body. The home was searched by the assailants and items were taken. The assailants were careful not to leave evidence of the burglary.

Fig.5 A. X-ray of the side of Barbara’s head showing the trajectory of the shotgun pellets. B-C. Injuries to hands. D. From scene.

Fig.6 Image showing the .22 caliber wound (arrow) surround by satellite shotgun pellet injuries.

Fig.7 The bedroom on the second floor where Lyons was victim of homicide.

The police identified Corey Lyons, the brother of Daniel Lyons, as the suspect in these homicides. Corey was arrested in a nearby city within eight hours of the homicides and subsequently charged with the two homicides. According to the prosecution, these were murders of revenge. A family dispute which became a civil lawsuit allegedly motivated Corey to commit the homicides where he lost most of his assets to Daniel plus his ability to conduct his residential construction business. Corey Lyons was alleged to have committed the homicides of his brother and sister-in-law in retaliation.

Fig.8 Image taken early in the processing of the crime scene.

Fig.9 A smooth layer of blood transfer on the underside of Lyons’ legs indicate his legs were likely on the blood-soaked pillow.

Fig.10 Bloodstains of the legs.

Fig.11 The body pulled to its left side at the scene which shows the shotgun wound on the right side of the body. The shotgun muzzle was likely within two feet of Lyons’ right side.

Corey Lyons was convicted in 2011 of the homicides on his third trial. The first trial ended in a mistrial due to potential jury biasing testimony by a prosecution witness. The second trial ended in a mistrial due to the jury being unable to come to a verdict. The jury of the third trial convicted. A survey of the jury members revealed the prosecution’s gunshot residue (GSR) expert’s testimony was the primary reason for conviction.

Fig.12 The supine body in its found position; bloodstain on the carpet came from the extruded mesenteric tissue.

Fig.13 Lyons’ body at the crime scene.

Fig.14 Lyons’ left arm showing stippling along the anterior part of the arm. The left palm and wrist with stippling.

Fig.15 Scene diagram showing the likely positions of the assailants and Lyons at this shot. This .38 caliber bullet went through Lyons’ left shoulder and was the second bullet to hit the north built-in cabinet.

There was no evidence of forced entry into the Lyons/Scharton home. Assailant entry was on the first floor, likely through the unlocked garage door. Even though there were reports by neighbors of gunfire coming from the Lyons’ home and the Santa Barbara police arrived shortly after, they did not enter the dark building until approximately six hours later by a swat team. It appears the back of the house was not monitored by the police despite the claim of the establishment of a “perimeter” around the house. The bodies of Daniel Lyons and Barbara Scharton were found by the swat officers.

Fig.16 The posterior of Lyons’ head showing the two lacerations; white arrowhead, the impression left by the sliding glass door track.

Fig.17 Bloodstain transfer on the left side of the face of Lyons.

Fig.18 The entrance wound (at arrow) for the .38 caliber bullet in the back of Lyons’ head. A diagram of this shooting by Assailant 3.

Fig.19 A portion of the right palm and base of the thumb was removed by the main mass of the pellets. Scene diagram showing the likely position of Lyons and the assailants.

Fig.20 The blood transfer likely from the carper on the chest.

Possibly the assailant (or assailants) was unaware of Scharton being in a bedroom other than the master bedroom with Daniel Lyons on the second floor of the house. She apparently heard trespasser presence and responded by starting to get off her bed. Barbara Scharton received five shots while she was on her bed in a bedroom on the first floor of the newly-constructed house (Corey Lyons was the general contractor).

The trajectories of the three bullets to Scharton’s right arm and upper body indicate the assailant with a .22 caliber firearm started firing when he was at the base of Scharton’s bed. The following analysis of the bullet and shotgun pellet wounds on Barbara Scharton is in order of their likely occurrence. The first three wounds were by .22 caliber bullets, the fourth wound by a 12 gauge shotgun, and the final wound by a .22 caliber bullet.

Fig.21 The crime scene in front of the sliding glass doors of the bedroom.

Fig.22 Carpet bloodstain.

Fig.23 Evidence a burglary occurred after the homicides.

Fig.24 Reconstruction of the homicide.

Lyons was awakened by the gunfire at his wife in the first-floor bedroom. She likely screamed. Before he could understand what was happening he could have heard footsteps approaching. The pattern of bullet and shotgun pellet strikes and bloodstains shows Lyons first encountered his assailants in the north area of the bedroom. He appears to have been attempting to open the bottom left drawer of the north built-in cabinet, perhaps to retrieve a hidden pistol under a drawer. The house was dark and remained dark throughout the attacks on both victims and afterwards according to neighbors and police.

Fig.25 Their newly constructed home in city of Santa Barbara, California, USA

Fig.26 Daniel Lyons and Barbara Scharton.

After nine shots with the .38 caliber revolver and 12 gauge shotgun, Lyons was still ambulatory, but the shotgun wound to his right abdomen and the bullet through his brain would both ultimately be fatal according to the autopsy report. What followed this gunfire was a physical attack on him by one or both assailants. One of the assailants had a blunt hatchet-like weapon which he used to strike Lyons on the head.

Fig.27 Corey Lyons, the brother of Daniel Lyons.

Fig.28 From the scene.

Following the homicides of Daniel Lyons and his wife, Barbara Scharton, it is apparent the assailants were in no hurry to vacate the crime scene. The evidence shows that a cloth was put over the body of Lyons and purposely bloodied. The cloth was removed and taken with the assailants. Did the assailants want a souvenir of the homicide in the form of the bloodied cloth? Evidence indicates the bedroom and perhaps the entire house was searched. The assailants were careful not to leave evidence of this activity.

The brother of Daniel Lyons, Corey Lyons, was arrested and convicted of the two homicides. Corey is serving two life terms without the possibility of parole.

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