VISTA — Derlyn Ray Threats should be executed for the brutal murder of a 24-year-old housewife in her Vista home, a Vista jury recommended Dec. 4.
After six days of deliberation, the panel returned on the morning of Dec. 4 with their final verdict in Threats’ case, in which they found that the 28-year-old man should be sentenced to death for the murder of Carolyn Rebecca Neville four years ago in her Vista home.
“Yes, yes, yes … yes,” each of the 12 jurors answered as Superior Court Judge K. Michael Kirkman pulled the jury.
As the panel answered, Threats sat motionless with his head cocked to the left side and looked away from the jury. Unlike other times when the jury entered and exited the courtroom, Threats who wore a khaki pants with a white button down shirt and a tie, didn’t stand.
Threats also denied a request by Kirkman to have his sentencing hearing scheduled outside the three-week window defendants are granted as their right to speedy proceedings.
Kirkman sat a sentencing date for Jan. 5.
Threats was convicted in November of one count each of murder in the first degree with special circumstance allegations, residential robbery and residential burglary.
The panel, eight men and four women, also found true the two special circumstance allegations — the murder was committed during the robbery or burglary, and the murder involved torture.
Outside the courtroom, Stephen Neville, the victim’s husband, said he was pleased with the jury’s decision.
“It’s finally come to a closure and I think Mr. Threats got what he deserved,” Stephen Neville, 30, said. He said his family and friends have offered a great deal of support throughout the five-year case.
After the murder, the city changed Diablo Place to Via Angelica at the request of Steven Neville and his neighbors.
Prosecutors allege the murder was a result of a burglary interrupted that escalated into a robbery when Carolyn Neville returned home after dropping her son off at elementary school.
Police found Carolyn Neville’s body in the living room of her home on Diablo Place around 9 a.m. Sept. 1, 2005. Shortly after their arrival on the scene, Threats was found a few houses away with a pair of bloody socks, a stun gun and hammer handle.
Still, defense attorneys’ argued throughout the case that Threats wasn’t alone in the house when the murder occurred. Attorney James Weintre said his client entered the house with a next-door neighbor of the Nevilles, and it was that gentleman, a convicted felon, who committed the gruesome murder.
Threats’ wife, Isabel, said she was disappointed with the evidence, including information about the neighbor’s alleged role in the crime, which was omitted from her husband’s case.
“It’s really hard when you’re sitting there watching someone you love being put through so much and you can’t even defend it,” Isabel Threats said.
Despite the outcome, Isabel Threats, who held a box of her husband’s ties that he wore throughout the trial, said she would continue to work to clear her husband’s name.
“Of course we’re going to fight, Derlyn’s innocent, he didn’t commit that murder and it’s unfortunate the judge didn’t let that evidence in,” she said.