Jury selected in Mya Lyons murder case - FOX 32 News Chicago

Father accused of killing daughter, 9, in Lyons murder trial

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Richard Lyons (FOX 32 News) Richard Lyons (FOX 32 News)
Mya Lyons (FOX 32 News) Mya Lyons (FOX 32 News)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Mya Lyons mother, Erika Barnes, needed help walking today, after testifying about events surrounding her daughter's 2008 murder.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, she told the jury that Mya had lived with her in west suburban Addison, but that Mya spent portions of the summers with her father, Richard, on the south side.

It was on one of those summer nights in 2008 that Mya Lyons, 9, was stabbed to death and left in the weeds behind her father's home.

The trial to determine whether he is guilty of her murder began this week.

Richard Lyons appeared before the cameras the day after Mya was killed, expressing grief and sadness over his daughter's death, like any father would. Four days later, when police revealed they were questioning a person of interest, Lyons was confident that justice would be done.

"I don't think this was a swift or hasty decision on their part to bring someone in," Lyons said in 2008. "I do not think this was a media blitz, to try to say this was a forefront case and we have to solve it."

The prosecution suggested that was all just part of one big show in their opening statements on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Fabio Valentini began by saying that one of those summer nights, Mya had come home late from a neighbor's home, around 11 p.m. and Lyons proceeded to beat her, stab her and cut her throat, hoping to make it look like she was killed by a , " crazy maniac."

Valentini showed jurors a photo of Mya Lyons, saying that she was a typical nine-year-old girl. Not a problem child. Not a run away. The prosecutor went on to suggest that Richard Lyons beat and stabbed his daughter to death without suggesting an apparent motive.

"Why a father would harm a child, we'll never know," the prosecutor said. "No one on the planet could ever answer."

Mya's skull had been fractured and she had been stabbed more than ten times. Neighbors told police they heard Richard Lyons screaming when he discovered her body in an alley behind his home.

Valentini then alleged that Lyons posed as the hero, claiming to have found his daughter's body and rushed her to the hospital. In reality, prosecutors contend Lyons had beaten her head against the lock box, carried her body to his van, cut her throat and dropped her body in an alley, so it would look like someone else did it.

The prosecution says blood evidence from Lyons' van will help prove he stabbed her to death in the van and moved her body to the alley.

The jury also heard from Anton Martin, who claimed he saw Richard Lyons change clothes shortly after the time when Mya was murdered. Martin also claimed that minutes later he heard Lyons screaming, "Mya's hurt, Mya's hurt!"

Defense attorney Andrea Webber suggested in her opening statements that prosecutors had offered no motive for this crime and no physical evidence linking her client to the crime.

She also suggested that their best evidence is the prosecution's only key expert is a consultant - a blood splatter expert paid $40,000 for his work. Webber suggested that he is the one who eventually came up with the only theory that the prosecution is offering in this case.

Defense attorneys argued that the real killer was that "person of interest," who police picked up shortly after the crime six years ago. They say authorities have the wrong guy.

Lyons sat watching in a courtroom on Monday, as prosecutors and defense attorneys selected the jury that will decide whether he is guilty of murdering his daughter.

Lyons was arrested and charged with the crime in 2011, two and a half years after the murder.

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