Triple murder suspect’s uncle testifies for prosecution

Prosecution continues its case against Brent Luyster

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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An uncle of triple murder suspect Brent Luyster’s testified Tuesday that his nephew showed up unexpectedly at his residence in Ocean Park after the shooting. But the uncle was vague about what they discussed and couldn’t recall what he later told investigators about the visit.

Steven Dvorak took the stand on behalf of the prosecution’s case after the lunch hour.

Luyster reportedly came to his residence either late at night July 15, 2016, or in the early-morning hours of July 16, 2016. Dvorak had difficulty remembering details from the visit, because he has suffered two strokes, he said. It was not unusual, however, for Luyster to come by his place without warning, he said.

Clark County sheriff’s Detective Joe Swenson testified Tuesday that during an interview, Dvorak said Luyster told him something bad happened and that he was in trouble. Luyster allegedly said he shot some people, and Dvorak mentioned seeing something about a shooting on the news, Swenson said. Dvorak testified that he doesn’t recall telling police any of that.

Swenson said that at the time of their interview, Dvorak refused to be recorded.

Dvorak told Luyster not to “bring this to my doorstep,” and said that he can be forgiven, according to Swenson. Dvorak testified that he did not recall saying those things.

He also testified that he could not remember if Luyster brought or left a firearm at his residence, or the type of vehicle he arrived in. He said a woman was with Luyster, and possibly a child.

Physical evidence

The majority of Tuesday’s testimony came from Swenson, who handled much of the physical evidence in the case.

He documented and collected evidence from the scene of the shooting at a home southeast of Woodland, and the vehicle and storage unit of Luyster’s girlfriend, Andrea Sibley.

Among the evidence was photos of the crime scene, which depicted the bodies of Joseph Mark LaMar, 38; LaMar’s partner, Janell Renee Knight, 43; and Zachary David Thompson, 36. LaMar and Knight lived at the home.

Family members of the shooting victims sobbed and shook as gruesome photos of their loved ones were projected onto a screen. Some left the courtroom.

The prosecution planned to call Luyster’s teenage son — who was reportedly an eyewitness to the shooting — to testify Tuesday afternoon, but Swenson’s testimony ran through the afternoon.

Michael Borge, the boy’s attorney, asked the court if he could testify out of order. He said the boy was transferred to Clark County from a juvenile facility for the proceedings and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Borge said he’s representing the boy pro bono.

The boy’s testimony will be short, he said, because he’s apparently going to refuse to testify. Luyster’s son is aware that he could be held in contempt if he refuses to testify, Borge said.

The trial continues Wednesday.