Father held without bail in 2008 murder

January 19, 2011 3:30:41 PM PST
Mya Lyons, 9, was stabbed, beaten and suffocated in 2008, prosecutors said in court Wednesday as her father appeared on first-degree murder charges.

Richard Lyons, 42, was ordered held without bond.

At the hearing, prosecutors outlined the case against Lyons- based mostly on forensic evidence, saying outside evidence experts -- hired separately by the police department and state's attorney's office-- determined blood splattered on a rear window shade within Lyons' van indicates the murder of his daughter, Mya, occurred inside the vehicle.

In 2008, Lyons told police he found the girl in an alley half a block from his home. Instead of calling 911, he-- and a relative-- put her in the van to transfer her to Jackson Park Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police initially took pictures of the inside of the van, but did not take custody of it until days later, which is when they obtained the blood spatter evidence critical to the case. Prosecutors said a DNA test revealed a droplet of Mya's blood on the rear window shade on the driver's side of the van. That, they say, doesn't fit with Mya's body being placed in the rear seat on the passenger side. | Richard Lyons talks to ABC7 in 2009

"It is the opinion of the experts that that's where she was stabbed," said Anita Alvarez, Cook County state's attorney.

Prosecutors say blunt trauma and asphyxiation contributed to the girl's death. Prosecutors say a lockbox found in Lyons' backyard matches with wounds found on Mya's body. They believe he struck her with it repeatedly.

"She was then moved to the van of Richard Lyons where we believe he stabbed her multiple times - primarily in the abdomen," said Anita Alvarez, Cook Co. state's attorney.

The 9-year-old was stabbed as many as 10 times and had 30 entrance and exit wounds on her body.

Mya's mother, Ericka Barnes was in court when the graphic details of her daughter's death were read. | ABC7's 2008 interview with Ericka Barnes, Mya's mother

"It hurts terribly, but the evidence spoke for itself," said Barnes. Prosecutors have not released a motive, but said their evidence is strong. Lyons' attorney calls the case circumstantial at best, and said blood spatter forensics is tantamount to junk science.

"We look forward to challenging the so-called scientific evidence in this case because as far as I can see now, that's the only evidence in this case," said Alan Blumenthal, Lyons' attorney.

Lyons was charged in the case Tuesday . He also faces aggravated criminal sexual abuse in an unrelated case involving a 15-year-old boy.