Longform

Living a Dream of Murder

Page 5 of 7

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.

Brooke, 22, had danced at some of the same clubs as Ermey in an effort to support her child, a daughter she'd had at 16. She would disappear for weeks at a time — sabbaticals, some of her friends later learned, to the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Mound House, Nevada, a legalized brothel popularized by the HBO reality series Cathouse.

Now she was pregnant for a second time — eight weeks along — and had returned home around Halloween to have the baby.

Fierro drove her back to 1511 SW 56th St., where he had a key and was free to come and go as he pleased. According to Fierro's later testimony, Brooke requested that he take a shower so they could have sex. She also snorted more cocaine. The two were alone for approximately 45 minutes before Fierro began to hear someone knocking and whistling at the door.


He didn't want to answer: Barrientos always told him when to expect someone. Brooke insisted. When he opened the door, there stood Tyner. Prosecutors would later learn that Symantha Stanton's PikePass — an electronic sensor for tolls — had been used to get off the turnpike into Oklahoma City at 3:49 a.m. She had last seen Tyner in their apartment as she was falling asleep, around 11 p.m.

Fierro spent a half-hour chatting with Tyner; the two had met while helping Barrientos move over the summer and had an easy rapport. Tyner asked when Barrientos might be coming back. Fierro suspected it would be soon, since few places would still be open. He introduced Tyner to Brooke before they both went back to the bedroom, inviting Tyner to stay and wait for Barrientos.

As Fierro left the living room, he heard Tyner on his cell phone telling someone that the only people in the house were Fierro and his girlfriend. A few drinks in, he thought little of it.

Fierro and Brooke were in the bedroom when Barrientos arrived a short time later. There were female voices, which Fierro assumed to be those of Ermey and Barrera. Brooke went out to greet them; Fierro stayed behind. He heard music and amiable chatting.

Thirty minutes passed. Then Barrientos' tone turned serious: "Aw, what the fuck?" Before Fierro could react, gunshots rang out, and a bullet zipped through the bedroom door.

Fierro looked around. The damaged door led to the living room and mayhem. The other door led to the kitchen. Fierro picked the latter.

Shoeless and shirtless, he sprinted through the kitchen and into the garage, hitting the button to open it and diving underneath. Running, he turned to see Tyner giving chase, a white Pontiac Grand Prix parked in the driveway.

"Fern Dog, come back," Tyner yelled. "I'm not going to fuck with you."

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Jake Rossen