Accused killer with Nazi tattoos smiles at cameras

(KOIN Photo)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Though he stands accused of 3 counts of 1st-degree murder, Brent Luyster flashed a smile at TV cameras as he made his first court appearance Monday.

Luyster, 35, also faces one count of 1st-degree attempted murder and a 1st-degree charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was arrested Saturday afternoon without incident by Cowlitz County deputies and Washington State Troopers for allegedly shooting those 4 people at a home at 4006 NW 47th Street before fleeing.

All shot in the head

Court documents paint a harrowing picture of Friday’s triple murder. The bodies of 3 victims were found at a Woodland home, and all 3 appeared to have been shot in the head.

The victims were identified as Joseph Lamar, Janell Knight and Zach Thompson. The wounded woman — shot through the left side of her face — is Breanne Leigh, who is the mother of Thompson’s children.

Lamar and Thompson were found outside in the driveway next to each, both shot at point blank range. Knight was inside lying on a couch, also shot in the head.

Leigh reportedly told officers she “army crawled” to safety and flagged down a vehicle, which took her to a nearby AM/PM store on CC Street, where police arrived and the investigation began.

When authorities arrived they found she was unable to speak but was able to write answers to their questions.

According to the affadavit, a deputy knew the shooting happened at the house of one of the victims, Joseph Lamar. The deputy asked Leigh if she knew who shot her, she wrote, “pretty sure Brent Lyster (sic) Luyster. He’s in big trouble. Fed.”

Accused killer Brent Luyster leaves a Vancouver court following his first appearance on 3 counts of 1st-degree murder, July 18, 2016 (KOIN)
Accused killer Brent Luyster leaves a Vancouver court following his first appearance on 3 counts of 1st-degree murder, July 18, 2016 (KOIN)

In court Monday, Clark County Deputy Prosecutor James Smith recommended Luyster be held without bail. That request was quickly granted.

“I think it’s important obviously, given the information we have at this point, given the severity of the charges that were filed, to make sure the community’s protected and that there’s no risk of further violence here,” Smith said.

Luyster’s next scheduled court appearance is August 1.

Previous arrests

Luyster, 35, was still facing charges for allegedly pistol whipping his ex-girlfriend — the mother of his child — in May. When he was arrested that time, deputies heard shots fired and eventually talked him into surrendering. He was out on bail on this particular charge at the time of the murders.

In 2013, Luyster, his brother Robert and a man named Donald McElfish were arrested for an alleged racial attack at the QuarterDeck Bar in Vancouver. All 3 have with ties to a white supremacy group and were charged at that timewith 2nd-degree felony assault and racially motivated malicious harassment for the incident.

Brent Luyster in an undated photo provided by the Clark County Sheriff's Office, July 16, 2016
Brent Luyster in an undated photo provided by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, July 16, 2016

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