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Banning Man, 19, Held in Woman's 'Execution' Killing

Region & State

October 07, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

An alleged gang member from Banning was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of killing an 18-year-old Desert Hot Springs woman, whose body was found along a road on the Morongo Indian Reservation two months ago.

Gary Lyons, 19, was charged with murder, including special allegations of using a handgun and lying in wait. The charges make him eligible for the death penalty.

On Aug. 4, Lyons allegedly killed Sylvia Olmos, who was found shot "execution" style, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Lyons appeared in Riverside County Superior Court on Wednesday, but his scheduled arraignment was delayed until later this month.

A sheriff's spokesman said DNA evidence obtained during the two-month investigation led to Lyons' arrest. Police suspect that others participated in the slaying, and more arrests are expected, Sgt. Earl Quinata said.

Quinata said investigators had yet to reveal a possible motive for the killing.

Lyons is a distant relative of Maurice Lyons, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, and his wife, Barbara, vice chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians, said a spokeswoman for the Morongo tribe.

The arrest of Lyons comes more than two years after Maurice Lyons established the state's first tribal contract with a municipal police agency for law enforcement services. The Morongo reservation, with a population of about 400, retains two sheriff's deputies for daily 20-hour patrols.

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