Richard Lyons, a 42-year-old hospital radiology technician, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to murder charges that he beat and stabbed his 9-year-old daughter Mya more than 30 times in the summer of 2008.
Lyons, was indicted Feb. 17 for the murder of Mya Lyons, a crime for which he was charged in January, more than two-and-a-half years after it happened, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Prosecutors allege he struck Mya with a lockbox before stabbing her in his van 30 times. He then took her to the hospital in the same van and claimed "she may have been bitten by a dog,'' prosecutors alleged at his Jan. 19 bond hearing.
Bond was denied for Lyons, a Northwestern Hospital radiology technician, who was also ordered held on $250,000 bond for a separate assault of a 15-year-old boy at his home last June. He allegedly touched the boy, who'd had his hair styled by Lyons' wife, and asked him to "stay the night," prosecutors allege.
On Wednesday, Lyons pleaded not guilty to both the murder and assault charges, Simonton said. He will appear for a status hearing April 13.
Lyons loudly proclaimed his innocence after telling police he found his lifeless daughter in a dark and weedy alley in the 8400 block of Gilbert Court on July 14, 2008.
But a pair of forensic investigators determined a blood spatter analysis of Lyons' clothing and the van showed Mya was stabbed in the van and not the alley, according to prosecutors, who have given no motive for the slaying.
State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said after the bond hearing that it was a "heinous'' crime because it was allegedly committed by the girl's father. She said it took two-and-a-half years to make an arrest because prosecutors had to conduct a thorough investigation.
But Lyons' attorney, Alan Blumenthal, said his client was innocent and blasted the weakness of the case. ‘‘This is all based on pure speculation and blood spatter patterns ... a soft science,'' he said after the hearing.
Prosecutors said Mya and her older brother had come home at 11 p.m. on July 14 after visiting a neighbor. Lyons claimed the girl then went to her bedroom, but when he went to check on her she was missing, prosecutors said. However, no one from the family saw her leave the house and neighbors reported seeing the two come home and go to the backyard, Dillon said.
A few minutes later, neighbors told investigators, they saw Lyons in his van driving through the alley behind his home and then to the front of his house. He was wearing a white t-shirt, prosecutors said. Later, Lyons, now wearing a blue t-shirt, got back into the van and drove back into the alley, neighbors told authorities. Minutes later he drove back to the front of his home, his uncle got in the van, and the two drove to Jackson Park Hospital, prosecutors said.
At the hospital, the uncle took the girl's body inside while Lyons waited outside because he was "too distraught,'' prosecutors said. But at some point while at the hospital, Lyons was overheard saying the girl "may have been bitten by a dog,'' prosecutors said. The girl was dead on arrival, prosecutors said.
Mya had 30 stab wounds to her stomach, neck and upper back, as well as multiple skull fractures and abrasions, prosecutors said. There was no evidence of a sexual assault.