In a written plea statement, the teenage son and namesake of convicted triple murderer Brent Luyster told a judge Friday that he believes charges brought against him in an assault case were overblown because of his notorious last name.
Clark County Superior Court Judge Jennifer Snider, who’s seen Brent Luyster III appear before her since he was 12, did not necessarily disagree.
“I do think sometimes you get a bad rap because of your last name,” she told him after the 16-year-old pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in Clark County Juvenile Court.
Snider said many things that have happened to him are out of his control, but he controls his choices.
“I don’t think that you’re a lost cause, but you need to believe that,” she told him.
Still, the judge said if Luyster keeps doing what he’s doing, he will end up serving a long time in prison.
Luyster was arrested May 5 after he slashed at and threatened to kill a man near the intersection of East 27th Street and Grand Boulevard in central Vancouver. The confrontation apparently started when Luyster stared at the victim’s girlfriend. No one was injured.
Luyster had been released from a juvenile facility about a month before the attack and was on parole.
He faced attempted second-degree murder accusations in adult court, but the prosecution opted to file a charge of first-degree assault. The case was later transferred to juvenile court.
If convicted on the original charge in adult court, Luyster would have faced 10 3/4 to 14 1/4 years in prison, before a deadly weapon enhancement, based on the charge and his criminal history — which has included fourth-degree assault, malicious mischief, possession of a stolen firearm, and first- and second-degree robbery.
Instead, he was sentenced Friday to 15 to 36 weeks in a juvenile facility. He’s already served approximately 19 weeks of that sentence locally.
“The state hopes he understands he got a really big break this time,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said during the hearing. The prosecutor added that he hopes Luyster learns from this and doesn’t end up in trouble again.
Hayes asked that the court order Luyster undergo anger management and mental health evaluations, along with any necessary treatment.
Luyster’s mother said during the hearing that she strongly feels her son would benefit from mental health and anger management treatment. But he has to want it.
“He’s been taught things he needs to unlearn,” she said.
The teen’s defense attorney, Michele Michalek, told the court that Luyster has been exposed to things most people don’t witness in a lifetime, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Eyewitness to murders
In November 2017, Luyster, then 13, was briefly held in contempt of court after refusing to testify at his father’s triple-murder trial. The ruling prompted an explosive outburst from the teen outside the presence of the jury.
Luyster Sr. was on trial for the July 2016 slayings of his best friend, Zachary David Thompson, 36; friend Joseph Mark LaMar, 38; and LaMar’s partner, Janell Renee Knight, 43, at LaMar’s home southeast of Woodland. He also shot Thompson’s partner, Breanne Leigh, then 32, in the face, but she survived.
Luyster Jr. was an apparent eyewitness to the shootings.
A jury later convicted his father of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and one count each of first- and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The elder Luyster received three life sentences without the possibility of release, plus another nearly 54 years to run consecutively.
Luyster, a known white supremacist, was convicted a year later on federal firearms charges and sentenced to serve another 10 years. A state database shows he is incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.
Jessica Prokop: 360-735-4551; firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/JProkop16