Triple murder suspect claims he learned about shooting from news: 'It didn't seem real'

Photo of Brent Luyster from November 14, 2017

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Accused triple murderer Brent Luyster took the stand Tuesday, giving his version of what happened in Woodland, Washington during the summer of 2016.

Luyster is the second witness called to the stand by defense attorneys. He was largely calm, quiet, and at times emotional as he answered questions about the shooting on July 15, 2016.

He said he learned about the shooting deaths of his three friends - Joseph Mark LaMar, Zachary David Thompson and Janell Renee Knight – on the news the following day.

Investigators say that Luyster killed all three while a fourth victim, Breanne Leigh, survived with a gunshot wound to her face. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Leigh testified last week that she remembered "without a doubt" that Luyster was the one who shot her in the face.

On Tuesday, Luyster denied that claim and said he didn’t hear any gunshots while he was at the home that day.

He told the court it was early the next morning after driving to his uncle’s home in Long Beach, Wash. that he learned his friends had been killed – something he said that shocked him.

“Initially I didn't do anything, I was sitting there and I was… it was a very surreal moment. I didn't, it didn't seem real,” Luyster said.

That same news report, he says, is how he learned police were looking for him. He claims he, his girlfriend, and their infant child decided they needed to go back to town.

Deputies ultimately found Luyster after someone spotted his gold Ford Explorer in Cowlitz County.

Danette Anderson the mother of one of the victims, Joseph LaMar, with the support of her family shows up for court every day.

"I think he [Lamar] will be able to rest better when it's done," Anderson said.

While on the stand today the prosecution asked Luyster if he shot his friends. With each name read Luyster flatly said "no."

Lamar's family says he's lying.

"He contradicted everything his girlfriend said. That's questionable, he just showed hes unrealiable," Anderson said.

Luyster's girlfriend, Andrea Sibley previously testified she heard gunshots before Luyster jumped in her car telling her to "Go!"

Breanne Leigh, the only survivor took the stand earlier in the trial stating, without a doubt in her mind it was Brent Luyster who shot her. Luyster says he doesn't know why she would say that.

"I don't, I've thought about it, I don't know why," Luyster said.

Anderson says there is not a doubt in her mind that the jury will find Luyster guilty. Luyster faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off