Man gets 21 years for killing of two
VICTORVILLE • A man who was just a teen when he killed two people, including a Barstow man, was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to the crime years ago.
Leroy Tyus, 22, of Victorville pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter in 2010. Tyus was 15 when he killed Dustin Diaz, 25, of Barstow and Peter Roth, 53, of Victorville in 2006. Prosecutors also charged Kevin Roach, 23, of Barstow and Louis Arias, 31, with their murders, though Arias pleaded guilty to accessory charges in 2010.
Both Tyus and Arias agreed to testify against Roach in his murder trial in exchange for lower charges.
Since his arrest, the court has questioned Tyus’ mental competency to stand trial on several occasions. Most recently Victorville Superior Court Judge Jules Fleuret ordered he be examined again after Tyus sang in court in June. After another evaluation, the court, again, found he was competent to stand trial earlier this month.
That’s when Tyus motioned to withdraw his plea agreement with prosecutors. Friday’s hearing was to determine whether the judge would allow him to withdraw, but instead Tyus opted to be sentenced for the crimes. Tyus was sentenced 21 years in prison for Diaz’s killing and another 11 years for Roth’s — sentences to be served concurrently.
With credit for time served, Tyus should be out of prison in just under 13 years, said his attorney Brian Skibby. Had he fought the charges in trial, he could have faced life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“It was a fair decision under the circumstances for his involvement in the crime,” Skibby said after the sentencing.
Diaz was shot to death in the laundry room of the house where he was staying in the 900 block of Zion Drive on April 16, 2006. Police said the shooting was “drug and retaliation related” but did not give further details.
A month later Roth was shot after he cashed a winning lottery ticket and his body was found slumped behind the wheel of his car with the tires still spinning. The $127 believed to be from the ticket was still in his pocket.
Arias is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2013. Roach still faces both murder charges, an attempted robbery charge and several special allegations. He is scheduled to be in court Oct. 26 for a pre-trial hearing.
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