H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Mar 20, 2013 9:19 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Myers Murder Trial costs taxpayers $1 million, court back in session Thursday

The Dystiny Myers murder trial is in its final stages.

The prosecution rested its case against Rhonda Wisto and Frank York on Tuesday and the defense didn't call any witnesses.

Wisto and York are two of five suspects accused of killing the 15-year-old girl back in September of 2010.

Her body was found near Santa Margarita.

Cody Miller and Ty Michael Hill have already been sentenced for their involvement in her murder.

Jason Greenwell accepted a plea deal with the District Attorney's Office.

Both sides will be making closing statements on Thursday.

The courtroom was closed on Wednesday for the defense and prosecution to prepare those statements and jury instruction.

On Tuesday, Cody Miller pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, and Jason Greenwell testified against Wisto and York.

Miller was also scheduled to testify, but refused.

"Did you agree to provide truthful testimony at a trial against any co-defendants?" asked a prosecutor.

"Yes," said Miller.

"Do you intend to do that?" asked a prosecutor.

"No," said Miller.

At his sentencing on Tuesday, Miller apologized to the Myers family.

"I am really sorry. I understand I've done terribly wrong to you guys. Nothing I could ever do will bring her back," said Miller.

Myers' family also heard from Jason Greenwell. He read from a letter he wrote to Myers' family after her body was found.

"My name is Jason Greenwell and I was involved in the brutal, cold hearted slaying of your daughter Dystiny. Even as she took her last breath, she said ‘tell my mom I love her,'" said Greenwell.

After hearing from Miller and Greenwell, Myers' family had the opportunity to speak for Dystiny.

"We will never get to see Dystiny graduate from high school, go to a prom, get married or have children," said Kathleen Clark, Dystiny's grandmother.

Since 2010, the County's Public Defender budget has spent $1 million for public defense for the five suspects.

Eighty-percent of that went to defense for Ty Michael Hill because his trial was a capital punishment trial. Those are more costly because there are fewer attorneys qualified to represent those cases.

The county is expecting to be $550,000 over budget at the end of the year.
$510,000 of that is from public defender costs for the Dystiny Myers case.

This budget doesn't include the District Attorney's Office costs in this trial.

With Miller and Hill being sentenced to life in prison, we also wanted to know how much it costs taxpayers to house an inmate in a state prison.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says on average, it costs more than $53,000 a year to house an inmate, which includes security, housing, food, medical and dental healthcare. For 50 years, it may cost taxpayers almost $3 million to house one inmate in state prison.

Wisto and York are the last suspects to go to trial for the murder of Dystiny Myers.

They are both charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and torture.

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