Attorneys: Lyons did right to hire counsel in daughter’s case

The father of the 9-year-old girl stabbed to death two weeks ago is angry about the apparent cloud of suspicion that hovers over him after Chicago police paid several visits to his home in the last four days, prompting him to hire an attorney.

The father of the 9-year-old girl stabbed to death two weeks ago is angry about the apparent cloud of suspicion that hovers over him after Chicago police paid several visits to his home in the last four days, prompting him to hire an attorney.

Police searched Richard Lyons’ home shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday for about two hours, but did not take anything from there. The previous morning they seized the van that was used to transport Mya Lyons to Jackson Park Hospital, where she died. Last Thursday, the father took a lie detector test.

Mya was found June 14 by her father in an alley near his home in the 8400 block of South Gilbert Court. She was brutally stabbed and died of her injuries a few hours later.

Richard Lyons, with legal counsel by his side Sunday, said detectives ruffled his feathers when they made “accusatory and threatening” statements to him while at his home, leading Lyons to believe the focus of his daughter’s investigation has shifted towards him.

Alan Blumenthal, Lyons’ attorney, said his client has been fully cooperative with the police since the onset of the investigation, including submitting DNA samples and offering the keys to the van that carried Mya to Jackson Park Hospital.

Lyons and Blumenthal declined to reveal what the statements were.

“He is and has been a good and loving father to his children,” Blumenthal said Sunday outside of Lyons’ residence, adding that Lyons is “in no way responsible.”

Criminal defense attorney Mabel Taylor said if detectives did make accusatory statements to Lyons, he was right to seek legal representation.

“The investigation could be taking its natural course, but if it’s true that they made some statements to him that alludes to the police thinking he had something to do with his daughter’s death, Mr. Lyons had no choice but to hire an attorney. He has to make sure he is not railroaded,” Taylor said.

Police said Lyons and his family have been cooperative with investigators, but declined to say whether or not they have pinpointed their focus on the father. They said no one has been ruled out as a suspect.

In a statement, police spokesperson Monique Bond said, “It is in the best interest of this investigation that we allow the investigation to take its proper course. Detectives have and continue to conduct themselves accordingly. Their top priority is to solve this case.”

Lyons, who has not been named a “person of interest” in his daughter’s case, requested privacy for him and his family.

“My family and I simply want to be left alone so we can remember Mya and deal with our broken hearts,” an emotional Lyons said.

Another criminal defense attorney, Andre Grant, said, “The police doesn’t have to publicly announce that he’s a ‘person of interest,’ but all signs lead to it.”

Grant said Lyons should have contacted an attorney when he was asked to take a polygraph test.

“If they ask you to come in and take a lie detector test, they are checking on the veracity of his statements. When they get search warrants to seize items, they have some doubts,” said Grant.

A “person of interest” was questioned and released about a week after Mya was killed, and a knife with blood on it was found July 21 near where she was discovered. Lab results are pending.

A day after the 9-year-old was found, the father, other relatives and a neighbor submitted DNA samples.

Grant and Taylor both said Lyons” case is almost reminiscent of two Illinois cases in the last decade where a relative was charged with murder.

Corethian Bell, a mentally-challenged man, was released in 2002 after spending 17 months behind bars for allegedly killing his mother. Police said he gave a videotaped confession, but DNA evidence proved otherwise.

In 2005, Kevin Fox was released after spending eight months in jail for allegedly raping and murdering his 3- year-old daughter. Police said he confessed on videotape. DNA tests failed to link Fox to his daughter’s death.

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