Opening statements in Richard Lyons murder trial; Dad accused of beating, stabbing 9-year-old Mya

Opening statements are getting underway Tuesday in the trial of Richard Lyons, a South Side man accused of killing his daughter, Mya, in 2008.
January 14, 2014 3:13:22 PM PST
A father goes on trial for the brutal murder of his 9-year old daughter.

Prosecutors say Richard Lyons stabbed his daughter Mya and then dumped her body, but defense attorney say there is not enough evidence for a conviction.

Lyons screamed in horror when he says he found his daughter, and in the days that followed he told reporters that his grief over her death was immeasurable.

Police and prosecutors say that it was all an act, that Lyons was the real killer.

It took two and a half years before he was charged, and now his trial will turn largely on how a jury reads circumstantial evidence and the science of blood spatter.

Mya Lyons was spending some time with her father in the summer of 2008. On a July night she went to a neighbor's house on south Gilbert, and when she didn't come home after being called, her father says he went looking for her and found his 9-year old daughter lying in a darkened alley. She'd been repeatedly stabbed.

Lyons didn't call police or paramedics, but instead put his daughter in his van and drove her to Jackson Park hospital where she was pronounced dead.

"I am confident that whoever did this the light will be shined on them. They will be flushed out," Lyons said at the time.

Richard Lyons was not initially a suspect, but later became one. Police confiscated his conversion van and based on the location of blood traces, Mya's blood, found in the van, they charged Lyons with his daughter's murder.

Prosecutors Tuesday told the jury that Mya was first beaten with a lockbox, that wounds on her body support that, and more significantly that traces of Mya's blood were found on a window shade in the van and inside a vent, and that the only way it could've gotten there was for Mya to have been stabbed in the van.

That blood spatter evidence is key to the prosecution's case. Defense lawyers say the state-hired forensic expert may be entertaining but the evidence won't connect Lyons in a case where there are no witnesses and no known motive.

Mya's extended family listened Tuesday to the gruesome detail. Her mother, Erica Barnes, testified that Mya would never have ventured out on her own, that she was afraid of the dark, so much so that she always insisted in sleeping with the lights on.

Prosecutors are trying to make the point that Lyons' actions were not in keeping with what an innocent man would do. No calls to police or paramedics, then he took his daughter to a hospital that is not the closest hospital. He did not initially go in and when he did, he said he believed she'd been attacked by a dog.

Still missing is a weapon and a motive.