UPDATE at 6:56 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2016: The woman, Dezerea Lyons, was not charged, but the investigation is ongoing. She's been identified as a porn star. See the latest at the bottom. First posted at 7:01 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
Charges are expected to be filed today in the case of a young man allegedly murdered for insulting a woman at a late-night party in Glendale, a district attorney's office spokeswoman says.
The victim was identified this week by Glendale police as 25-year-old Phillip Niles Jr., who had moved to Los Angeles recently from Daytona Beach, Florida, according to police.
He was fatally shot about 3:55 a.m. Saturday after walking two women to a car following a night of partying at a friend's apartment in the 1700 block of North Verdugo Road, the Glendale Police Department reported in a statement.
“He was approached by two male suspects who were associated to one of the females,” cops stated. “The two male suspects confronted the victim at which time the victim was shot multiple times. The victim ran a short distance and collapsed on the front lawn of a residence in the 1600 block of The Midway Street.”
Investigators found out Niles and his male friend had met the women that night. One of them, an 18-year-old identified as Dezerea Lyons of Napa, “felt insulted by comments made by the victim,” police stated.
“You don’t know me,” she told him, according to what police told the Glendale News-Press. “You don’t know what I’m capable of.”
She made threats to him and made some phone calls, according to police. That's how suspects identified as 24-year-old Laquan Parker from Suisun City and 26-year-old Brandon Perkins from Stockton ended up confronting the victim as he walked the women to a car, cops alleged.
“Detectives believe Lyons orchestrated the violent attack on the victim,” police stated.
Glendale cops say their investigators canvassed the neighborhood for information when all they had was an unidentified body.
The three suspects, including Lyons and the two men outside, as well as her unidentified female party companion, were eventually tracked down at a Comfort Inn hotel in Monrovia, cops said.
That other party participant was actually being “held against her will in their Comfort Inn hotel room until the following day,” police alleged.
Lyons was booked on suspicion of murder. Parker and Perkins were booked on suspicion of murder and false imprisonment, cops said.
They didn't say who allegedly pulled the trigger.
UPDATE at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2016: The woman was not charged. Prosecutors said she has been released.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged Parker and Perkins with suspicion of “one count each of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon with priors and carrying a loaded stolen firearm,” according to a D.A.'s statement.
The case “includes allegations that a handgun was used and that Parker was convicted in San Joaquin County of carrying a loaded firearm in public in 2014 and Perkins was previously convicted in Solano County of carrying a concealed firearm in 2009 and possession of a firearm by a felon in 2011,” the office stated.
Prosecutors said they would ask for $3 million bail for each defendant. Both men pleaded not guilty today.
UPDATE at 6:56 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2016: After we asked if Lyons, initially accused by cops of setting up the murder over what they described as a slight, was still a suspect, Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot would only say that the case was still under investigation.
Following up on a tip that Lyons posted a photograph of herself holding a gun on social media just a day before the murder, we discovered that she works in adult video under the name Maya Bijou.
Her booking agent confirmed her identity. We asked for an interview with her but he did not get back to us.
A Twitter post by a friend shows the two last weekend at the Argyle in Hollywood, a 21-and-older venue. Bijou is 18, cops say, although her talent agent lists her as 19.
Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the D.A.'s office, says Glendale police never forwarded charging recommendations for Lyons — only for Parker and Perkins.
That would suggest the D.A. really had no option but not to prosecute the woman initially described by cops as a suspect.
But Lightfoot put the ball back in the D.A.'s court.
“The female was arrested and the D.A. did not file charges on her,” she said. “This is an ongoing investigation and a lot of forensic work to complete.”
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department inmate records indicate Lyons was arrested Sunday and released on Tuesday based on $2 million bail.
On Twitter yesterday she said, “Bye LA I won't miss you.” Lyons said on social media that she's from the Bay Area.
I never want to go through anything like this in my life again
— dezerae? (@dezlyons) June 29
I can't wait to be home and with my family !!!!
— dezerae? (@dezlyons) June 29 2016