Senior Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss (standing) has been calling people to the witness stand who testified Corey Lyons (seated) told them he wanted to kill his brother, Daniel Lyons, and how his brother was going to take everything he had as a result of a lawsuit (File photo 2009)
Paul Wellman

The ongoing double-murder trial of Corey Lyons continued this week with a number of witnesses taking the stand, including a next-door neighbor who testified to his recollection of the morning in question.

Scott Gordon recalled during Monday’s hearing how on May 4, at around 1:30 a.m., he awoke to the sound of gunshots coming from the home of his neighbors Dan Lyons and Barbara Scharton.

“It was so loud,” he said, “I was certain it was gunfire.”

After hearing what he believed were five or six shots, followed by two more that came a few seconds later, Gordon hid his wife, two sons, and their dog in the closet of their upstairs bedroom and called 9-1-1.

Moments later, he heard what he described as “feet on gravel” coming from the home of the victims. Cracking open the door leading to his second-floor balcony, Gordon peered outside, but testified that he could not see the source of the noise.

He did, however, report seeing what he described as a small, light-colored pickup truck turning onto his street, which then traveled past his home and the home of the victims at a normal rate of speed, only to come back down the street and drive off a few moments later. Presumably, the vehicle doubled back because of ongoing road construction.

The proceeding’s second witness, Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) Sergeant Mary Arroyo, also remembered seeing a truck in the area at around the same time, but her description differed from that of Gordon’s. While arriving on the scene, just minutes after the 9-1-1 calls were placed, Arroyo recalled passing a large white pickup parked on a cross street with its headlights on. She identified the truck’s large square headlamps as characteristic of an American-made model. As she drove back through the area roughly 35 minutes later, the truck was gone.

Since opening statements, prosecutors have attempted to link the various truck sightings to Corey Lyons by positing that it was, in fact, his white Ford work truck that was seen in the area on the morning of the murders. But after being shown multiple photos of Lyons’s truck, including one staged by the SBPD to mimic the location and conditions that would have been present on that night, Arroyo stopped short of positive identification, stating that while they were similar, she couldn’t be sure if they were the same truck or not. On cross-examination, she also acknowledged that she did not remember seeing a lumber rack — like the one installed on Lyons’s truck — on the vehicle in question.

The final two witnesses called during the day’s proceedings were Dennis and Sandy Boneck, close friends of the victims and Scott Gordon. The couple recalled how they were awoken in the early morning hours that followed the murders by a phone call from Gordon, asking for Dan and Barbara’s phone number. Apparently, the victims did not have an active landline, and the police, who were still in the process of determining what had taken place, were attempting to contact them.

During the phone call, Gordon relayed to the Bonecks his version of what had just transpired. And after supplying the requested contact information, the couple informed Gordon — and later the police — of the pending lawsuit and bad blood between the brothers. The two then proceeded to drive to the Gordon home, where police had set up a temporary command post. When asked why they chose to drive to the Gordons’ home at such a time, Sandy Boneck replied that they “didn’t feel safe.”

Further testimony would reveal that in the weeks prior to the killings, Corey Lyons had contacted both Bonecks, pleading with each of them to act as intermediaries in the dispute between him and his brother. It was during these conversations that Corey Lyons reportedly stated that “Dan was going to take everything he had” and that “he and his family were going to be homeless.” The Bonecks reportedly declined Lyons’s requests to intervene, as they considered the matter an inter-family dispute and none of their business.


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