Brent Luyster’s girlfriend and alleged accomplice, Andrea Sibley, testified Wednesday afternoon that she was a short distance away from where two men were fatally shot, but she didn’t see the shooting.
She did, however, hear it.
Sibley was sitting outside in her vehicle when Luyster allegedly fatally shot Joseph Mark LaMar, 38; LaMar’s partner, Janell Renee Knight, 43; and Zachary David Thompson, 36, on July 15, 2016, at LaMar’s home southeast of Woodland. Thompson’s partner, Breanne Leigh, then 32, was wounded.
Sibley’s testimony in Luyster’s triple aggravated murder trial chronicled a confusing and, at times, frantic two days that culminated in the alleged murders and a cross-county manhunt.
On the morning of July 15, 2016, Luyster received a call from his attorney representing him in a Cowlitz County criminal case, Sibley testified. The attorney reportedly told him some of his charges were being picked up by federal agents, and he could be taken into custody any day, she said. They were confused and frustrated by the lack of information.
That evening, Sibley, Luyster, their young son and Luyster’s then-12-year-old son, Brent Luyster Jr., went to a get-together at a Vancouver house. Thompson and Leigh joined them later. There was some talk about Luyster’s case being picked up by federal agents, but the mood didn’t seem unusual, Sibley said.
Luyster was drinking and becoming more intoxicated as the evening progressed, she testified. She did not see when he left with Thompson and Leigh to go to LaMar’s house, but others told her they left.
A while later, Luyster called Sibley, she said, and told her he didn’t want to be at LaMar’s house anymore and wanted her to pick him up. She started driving to LaMar’s as it was getting dark.
When she arrived, Luyster, Thompson, Leigh, LaMar and Knight were on the front porch. Sibley said everyone was obviously intoxicated.
She left her vehicle, along with Luyster Jr., and asked Luyster if he was ready to go. LaMar then asked the women to give the men a minute to talk, she said.
Sibley returned to her vehicle, where her son was sleeping. Leigh, Knight and Luyster Jr. went inside the house.
She sat inside her vehicle playing games on her phone, and when she looked up, it was dark, and the men were no longer on the porch. She said she could hear them talking in the yard but couldn’t make out what they were saying.
Then she heard several gunshots, and her driver’s side window shattered, Sibley said, scattering glass all over her. She said she was terrified and quickly checked on her son.
More shots rang out, and Luyster and Luyster Jr. were suddenly back in the vehicle. Luyster shouted at Sibley to “go!”
Sibley testified that Luyster Jr. was scared and shaking. She could not make out Luyster’s demeanor, she said, because she was “freaking out.”
On cross-examination, the defense showed Sibley a photo of Thompson and LaMar’s bodies lying outside the house. Sibley said she never saw their bodies as she drove away; it was too dark.
She drove her family back home. Luyster was belligerent, stumbling around and not making sense, she said. He would not look her in the eye. She called the situation tense and said she did not ask him what happened, for fear of provoking him. She held her son and tried to remain calm.
Sometime later, Luyster told Sibley to get back in their vehicle. He wanted to leave but didn’t say where they were going. They took their son but left Luyster Jr. behind. Sibley testified that he was still scared and being quiet.
Once in the vehicle, Luyster instructed Sibley to get on the freeway and gave her directions to his uncle’s residence in Ocean Park. They arrived there in the early morning hours of July 16, 2016, she said. They went inside and stayed a few hours. Luyster told her to go lie down with their son, she said.
She testified that she doesn’t know if Luyster’s uncle asked them to leave, but Luyster came into the room and told her they were leaving. She couldn’t recall if they had stopped at the beach before heading to town, where they picked up a few items from a store.
They then began driving toward the Longview area. She said Luyster was largely quiet during the drive but at some point, said people had been shot.
They arrived at Abernathy Creek off of Ocean Beach Highway that afternoon. Luyster was sober and calm by then, she said.
“It was like he just didn’t know what happened, and he wanted to find out,” she testified. He wanted to go home, she said.
She never saw Luyster with a firearm, she said. And he was wearing the same clothes both days, Sibley said, and had not bathed while they were at the creek.
They were at the creek for a half-hour to an hour, she said, when they heard vehicles rapidly pull up, dogs and police calling out over a PA system. She said Luyster was scared and told her to carry their son and call out to the officers so they wouldn’t shoot her.
Luyster was subsequently arrested. Sibley was taken in for questioning.
Sibley said she did not tell detectives the whole story because she felt uncomfortable with them. She was questioned for a couple of hours.
A friend told her that Leigh survived the shooting, she said, shortly after she was questioned at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office west precinct.
Sibley was arrested several days later for rendering criminal assistance. She later pleaded guilty after being offered a plea deal and was sentenced in September 2016 to credit for time served and probation. She was in custody for 57 days.
Her plea agreement did not entail her testifying against Luyster, she said, and no one discussed her testifying before she took the deal.
“I just took the plea bargain I was offered,” she said.
Sibley could be recalled as a witness.