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Dad found guilty of 9-year-old daughter’s murder

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Updated: February 19, 2014 6:07AM



Mya Lyons’ mother said the brutal stabbing and strangulation of her daughter was especially painful because the 9-year-old girl was killed at the hands of a man she trusted and adored.

“This wasn’t a stranger, nor was it a maniac that my daughter happened to wander upon. This was her father,” Ericka Barnes said Friday after a Cook County jury convicted Richard Lyons of murdering Mya.

“....She [Mya] loved her dad, and the fact that he could do something like this to her, it hurts me more so than anything. I will never understand why.”

Lyons, 45, showed no emotion when jurors delivered their verdict after two hours of deliberation.

Barnes, who dabbed her eyes in Judge Vincent Gaughan’s courtroom, said she had been waiting nearly six years to hear the word “guilty.”

“He’s going to pay for what he did to my baby,” Barnes said of Lyons’ role in the July 14, 2008 crime.

Lyons initially “confused” police by telling them he found Mya lying in pool of blood in a dilapidated lot near his home in the 8400 block of Gilbert Court, Assistant State’s Attorney Fabio Valentini said.

But his “stupid” farce was blown 2 1/2 years later when blood spatter expert Rod Englert determined that Mya wasn’t attacked in the grassy alley where Lyons claimed but just outside his home and in the dark van he said he drove to frantically to search for her.

Lyons was arrested after Englert delivered his findings.

And it was Englert’s testimony that was key in securing Lyons’ conviction, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

Barnes agreed.

“My daughter wanted us to know what happened to her and in that court yesterday, she told her story,” Barnes said, referencing Englert’s testimony that centered on the blood in Lyons’ van and on his gym shoes.

Lyons’ uncle, however, was as dismissive of the blood spatter evidence as defense attorneys who repeatedly pointed to jurors how prosecutors spent $80,000 for Englert’s expertise.

“It is not a real science,” said Derrick Lyons, who had carried Mya into Jackson Park Hospital the evening she was murdered.

“My nephew was a good father to his children. . . .I’m really saddened by our [criminal justice] system...This really hurts.”

In his closing arguments, Assistant Public Defender Christopher Anderson suggested that Mya had been killed by a burglar.

But there was no “crazed killer” on the loose as Richard Lyons wanted everyone to believe, prosecutor Maria McCarthy said.

Lyons just went into “self preservation” mode the minute he slammed Mya’s body against a lock box behind his house.

He then took Mya into his van where he stabbed her before dumping her body in the dark, secluded lot, changing his clothes and playing “hero” by pretending to find her, prosecutors said.

“Maybe he was angry because [Mya] came home late. Maybe she said something he didn’t like. We don’t know, but he was furious and he snapped,” McCarthy said.

Lyons is currently awaiting trial in an unrelated case for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Email: rhussain@suntimes.com

Twitter: @rummanahussain



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