Judge Robert Lewis lifted the contempt order against Brent Luyster Jr. on Monday, after the boy’s attorney said he still refused to testify in his father’s triple aggravated murder trial in Clark County Superior Court.
The 13-year-old’s attorney, Michael Borge, said he spoke with Luyster Jr. before court, and he had not changed his mind about testifying.
Luyster Jr. is reportedly an eyewitness to the July 15, 2016, shooting in which Brent Luyster Sr. is accused of killing Joseph Mark LaMar, 38; LaMar’s partner, Janell Renee Knight, 43; and Zachary David Thompson, 36, at LaMar’s home southeast of Woodland. Thompson’s partner, Breanne Leigh, then 32, was wounded.
Prosecutors told the judge they don’t want Luyster Jr. held in Clark County juvenile detention any longer, citing concerns that the boy’s attorney and psychologist voiced about his well-being.
The defense said they will not call the boy to testify and agreed he shouldn’t be held any longer.
Lewis held Luyster Jr. in contempt of court Wednesday — after he first refused to testify on behalf of the prosecution’s case — which prompted an explosive outburst from the boy.
Luyster Jr. jumped up out of his seat on the witness stand and screamed and cursed at the judge. He was escorted from the courtroom by corrections deputies in tears.
The jury was not present during the outburst and has not been present during conversations about the boy’s refusal to testify.
Luyster Jr. was transported to Clark County, for the purpose of testifying, from a juvenile facility where he is reportedly serving time in an unrelated case. He will return to that facility.
Lewis told the prosecution and defense that neither will be able to use Luyster Jr.’s refusal to testify or lack of testimony as an argument to present to the jury.
Prosecutors rested their case against Luyster late Monday afternoon after the jury heard from a forensic scientist with the Washington State Patrol crime lab. Approximately 23 items were submitted to the laboratory and tested, but only a cigarette butt yielded a partial DNA match to Luyster. None of his clothing tested positive for blood.
The defense will begin calling witnesses Tuesday.