On Monday, November 9, 2009, in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire on the 1500 block of South 56th Street. The fire was reported to a 911 dispatcher by a neighbor. The firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within minutes but soon realized the fire was not the issue at hand. After the fire was extinguished the bodies of one man and three women were found inside the home. Two of the women were pregnant. It did not take long for investigators to realize that the cause of this fire was arson.
Through autopsies and identifications the bodies of the four victims were discovered to be those of Brooke Phillips, 22, Milagros Millie Barrera, 22, Jennifer Ermey, 25, and Casey Barrientos, 32. Phillips and Barrera were both pregnant at the time of the murders. Brooke Phillips was a prostitute known as Hayden Brooks on an HBO reality show called Cathouse. The show was somewhat of a documentary about the brothel known as the Moonlite BunnyRanch, where Phillips worked. Barrera, who graduated from Moore High School in 2007, worked in retail and was also pregnant. Jennifer Ermeys last My Space entry read, Throwing on my dress and going to pick up Millie. Casey Barrientos had spent a large part of adult life behind bars for drug convictions. He had been released from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in July of 2009. It appeared to investigators that the women were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The first perpetrator to come forward surrendered on November 16, 2009, just one week after the murders. David Allen Tyner, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was a member of a gang called The Indian Brotherhood. Tyner was charged with six counts of murder and pled not guilty. Tyner would later tell officers that two other men accompanied him to the house the night the six were murdered. One of those men, Denny Phillips, was arrested and is currently awaiting trial for murder charges. Tyner told officers that Phillips said he wanted Tyner to go back to Oklahoma City that night to take care of Indian Brotherhood business and check on a drug shipment.
Tyner told authorities that he rode to Oklahoma City with two Native American men named John and Russell Hogshooter. Both the men carried guns. According to Tyner they went to the house to kill Barrientos on Phillips orders. Tyner claimed that Phillips threatened to kill Tyners family if he did not follow through. Tyner stated that he shot and killed Barrientos and then the women. He said that John and Hogshooter had been shooting and had bloody knives in hand. Hogshooter ordered Tyner back in the car, poured gas on the house and lit it on fire. An additional witness came forward with information that John was a man named Johnathan Cochran, and Cochran was subsequently arrested. Currently, both Cochran and Hogshooter await trial while Tyner is serving a life sentence.
At Brownstone Law we admire the work of the prosecutors and law enforcement officers who diligently worked to solve this tragic puzzle. We believe in the power of appeals for criminal defendants, and we also hope the justice system helps the victims families find closure.
Speak with an appellate lawyer.