Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Second Man Charged With Murder in ‘Cathouse’ Killings

Denny Edward Phillips. Police photo.

A second man has been charged with six counts of murder in the November, 2009, killingsof four people, two of them pregnant women, at an Oklahoma City home.

In November 2009, three women, two of them pregnant, and a man were killed inside an Oklahoma City home. The home was then set on fire, burning their bullet-riddled bodies beyond recognition. The victims were identified as Brooke Phillips, 22 and her unborn baby; Milagros Barrera, 22, and her unborn baby; Jennifer Ermey, 25; and Casey Barrientos, 32. Phillips had been featured on HBO’s reality series ‘Cathouse’ which followed the lives of prostitutes working at Nevada’s famous legal brothel, the Moonlite BunnyRanch.

Brooke Phillips. Publicity photo.

In May, David Allen Tyner pleaded guilty to six counts of murder in the case. Tyner, part of the Cherokee gang Indian Brotherhood, was sentenced to life without parole. When investigating the case, police didn’t think Tyner acted alone. Shell casings from two different weapons were found at the scene, as well as other evidence that pointed at a partner in crime. Police focused on Denny Edward Phillips, a career criminal and former cage fighter. In spring 2010 Phillips was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, in addition to several charges stemming from an unrelated robbery and subsequent shootout with police. Now in federal prison, Phillips has been hit with six murder charges. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater told the AP that his office believes Phillips ordered a hit on Casey Barrientos and the others were killed as witnesses. The exact motive for the crime was never established, but police believe drugs were involved. ”We believe there was some bad blood between Phillips and Barrientos,” Prater told AP. “Apparently over narcotics, possibly money owed for narcotics.”

More on The Cathouse Murders


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