Northwest jury convicts neo-Nazi of triple murder

A neo-Nazi skinhead with a lengthy criminal record has been convicted of three aggravated murders from 2016 in Washington.


Brent Ward Luyster

Brent Ward Luyster, 37, formerly of Vancouver, Washington, smirked as a Clark County jury left the courtroom Friday after rendering its guilty verdicts.

In addition to three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, the jury found Luyster guilty of attempted first-degree murder and one count each of first- and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He faces a mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole, when he is sentenced on Dec. 4. At that time, prosecutors will address a pending charge of attempting to escape from the Clark County Jail, the Vancouver Columbian reported

Luyster was arrested July 16, 2016, after an 18-hour manhunt begun when three people were found murdered the previous day at a home southeast of Woodland, Washington, where a Confederate flag flew over the crime scene.

The victims were identified as Joseph LaMar, 38, his companion, Janell Renee Knight, 43, and Zachary David Thompson, 36.  The Vancouver newspaper described Thompson as the suspect’s “best friend.”

Thompson’s girl friend, Breanne Leigh, 33, was shot in the face but escaped. During trial, she identified Luyster as the shooter.

While the motive wasn’t entirely clear, prosecutors told the jury that Luyster was angry about the prospect of returning to prison if convicted of felony charges he faced in an unrelated case.

Lyster testified in his own defense at the trial, which began Nov. 1 and went to the jury on Nov. 15. He denied any involvement in the homicides or hearing gunshots when he was at the residence.

Luyster has long-held neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs, and has been in prison much of his life, but those details were deemed prejudicial and not divulged to the jury. 

The defendant, who has “SS” lightning bolts tattooed on the side of his head, let his hair grow out for the trial and the multiple racist tattoos on his body were covered by clothing.  But by the time the jury returned its verdict, Luyster was once again a shaved skinhead.

He has three large Nazi swastikas tattooed on his back along with “Rahowa,” a white supremacist and neo-Nazi reference to “racial holy war.” The word “Skinhead” is tattooed across his stomach and he has two elaborate head-profile tattoos, one of which appears to be Adolf Hitler.

 

 

 

 

 

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