By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
It would be easy. Barrientos was always on painkillers, his guard down. And he would soon let Tyner go, having been told by Phillips that he was complaining about pay. It was further incentive for Tyner and further subterfuge by Phillips: It would later be alleged that the latter owed Barrientos more than $30,000 for drugs and a dark-blue Dodge Charger procured in a private sale between the two.
It was decided that Barrientos would be robbed. And murdered.
Tyner and Phillips discussed their options in the presence of Sanders. Both had reason to trust her: Sanders, 20, had known Tyner since she was 4 years old, their families close, and he often babysat her. Phillips knew Sanders' father, Perry, a fellow member of the Brotherhood: The two had once escaped Mayes County Jail together.
Sanders remembered being on the rural back roads, the smell of marijuana in the air, Phillips driving his ex's white Pontiac Grand Prix. They offered her $10,000 to man the getaway car. It was the same amount they knew Barrientos kept in a safe earmarked for bail money.
"If we're going to do this, then we have to do it," Phillips said, egging Tyner on. "We can't just talk about it."
"Man, I'm real," Tyner said. "You know I'm real. You know I'll do it."
According to Sanders, Phillips would be the one to kill Barrientos. Intoxicated by the idea of a real "hit," Tyner told them they could leave no witnesses behind to identify them.
By this time, Phillips had swayed Tyner with the promise of a "prospect patch," a tattoo meant to symbolize entry into the Brotherhood, which was normally open only to convicts. But if Tyner were to do something big on the outside — to help rob and murder Barrientos — Phillips would vouch for him.
Sanders was chilled. She pleaded with Tyner to walk away from the situation; he did the same, telling her to get away and pursue her dreams of being a writer.
It was Sanders who blinked. Frightened, she left town in September and never went to police with the story until what happened had happened.
Tyner reconnected with some of his old wrestling buddies that summer, taking out a boat and going fishing. They drank and joked about hell-raising in the old days. He gave his friend Austin David a turquoise ring set in a bear's claw and said his grandfather, a medicine man, had blessed it. He also said his grandfather had once turned into an owl, then woke up naked. He talked of moving to Norman, where David was, and being roommates.
As the night wore on, he began to share stories about an Indian mafia. David laughed it all off — Tyner and his tall tales.
"Man, I'm telling you," Tyner said. "It's real."
In late October 2009, Tyner told Stanton he was quitting his job as a bodyguard for Barrientos to go back to school. She noticed he had gotten a new tattoo on his left forearm.
Jennifer Ermey's family thought she was a waitress. Ermey, 25, seemed to be titillated by keeping her life as an exotic dancer a secret from her well-off parents, the twilight culture unknown to them.
One afternoon, Ermey returned home and saw her boyfriend kissing her roommate. Furious, she got her own apartment and began cozying up to her roommate's ex in an act of emotional revenge. He was not quite her type, with horns inked on his head and known gang affiliations. But Casey Barrientos bought Ermey nice things and had easy access to cocaine, which she had acquired a taste for.
Ermey was good friends with Milagros "Millie" Barrera, a 22-year-old Peruvian woman who enjoyed the nightlife. Barrera worked retail jobs — cell phones, apparel stores — and had gotten involved with a man who had gotten her pregnant. It didn't keep her from going out and enjoying herself, though: With her baby nearly 12 weeks along, she told a friend that she was going to meet someone who let people party at his house.
In the early-morning hours of Monday, November 9, 2009, Barrientos and Fierro drove to Henry Hudson's bar to meet Ermey and Barrera. They all ordered shots. At around 1:40 a.m., Fierro headed home while Barrientos left with the two women in Ermey's Honda. He told Fierro they were headed for Centerfolds, the strip club where Ermey worked.
Later, a former boyfriend of Barrera's got a phone call: She was inebriated, he said, and was "uncomfortable" around the people she was with at Centerfolds. He first let the call go to voice mail. By the time he spoke with her and drove to the club, she was gone.
Fierro also got a call. It was from a friend, Brooke Phillips, asking for cocaine. Fierro had met her in the clubs, had even employed her for private bachelor parties he arranged, but he hadn't seen her in years. He drove to a residence where she and an unidentified male were arguing. She snorted coke off a CD case in Fierro's vehicle before leaving with him, saying she'd pick up her own car in the morning.
I sat down yesterday and read this article two times. I found these characters really fascinating and bizarre at the same time. I thought about this story for a while and wondered why every town regardless of size, has these same people. Names are different but the personalities and insecurities are the same. Dallas is no different than Oklahoma, NM, or any other state. Crime, drugs, prostitution is everywhere.