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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Monday, February 25, 2019

Cowlitz County Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegal Weapons Possession

Felon Illegally Possessed Firearms; Following State Arrest and Release on Bail He Killed Three People in Vancouver, Washington

          A Longview, Washington, man who was convicted in July 2016 of a triple homicide in Vancouver was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to an additional ten years in federal prison for two federal felonies involving illegal weapons possession, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  BRENT LUYSTER, 37, was convicted following a three-day trial in November 2018 of being a felon in possession of firearms and being a felon in possession of ammunition.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle imposed a ten-year sentence to be served consecutive to LUYSTER’s state sentence.  Judge Settle said, “There is a great need to be concerned at protecting the public . . . this case warrants the maximum sentence.”  For the state murder convictions, LUYSTER had been ordered to serve a state sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.  The federal sentence of ten years will follow this state sentence.

         “The hatred and violence embodied by this defendant is truly abhorrent,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “This sentence is a safety net – to hold him accountable for his federal crimes – but also to ensure that regardless of his state convictions and sentence, Brent Luyster will remain locked up to protect our communities.”

          According to the evidence at trial in the case, Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a Longview home in May 2016 after a woman fled to a neighbor’s home saying she had been assaulted and her child was missing.  The woman told responding officers that LUYSTER had hit her in the head with a gun.  Another neighbor reported hearing gunshots.  Ultimately, officers located LUYSTER on a hillside behind the house and convinced him to surrender.  He had ammunition in his pockets, and at the location where he had been concealed on the hillside, officers recovered three firearms: a Bushmaster rifle, a Glock .40 caliber handgun, and a Keltec .12 gauge shotgun.  Additional ammunition was discovered on the hillside.  Inside the house where LUYSTER lived, law enforcement found five additional rifles and a handgun.  The investigation revealed that LUYSTER’s live-in girlfriend had purchased the weapons for LUYSTER.  LUYSTER was prohibited from possessing firearms due to multiple felony convictions, including convictions for assault, burglary, theft, malicious harassment, and riot with a deadly weapon.

          Following the May 16 assault, while state charges were pending in Cowlitz County, LUYSTER shot and killed three people and critically injured a fourth on July 15, 2016, at a home near Woodland, Washington.  He was convicted of three counts of aggravated first degree murder in November 2017. 

          While incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac, LUYSTER informed another inmate that he planned to assault a guard or make a violent disturbance at his trial.  A search of his cell revealed two weapons LUYSTER had crafted out of parts of his bed–one a homemade knife and the other a weapon that looked like a screwdriver.

          LUYSTER has a long and violent criminal history, including racially motivated attacks.  In 2001, he beat an African-American man who stepped on his property in search of his dogs.  Four years later, he was convicted of Malicious Harassment for shooting an African-American man in the leg.  In 2014, he threatened an African-American man in a bar.  LUYSTER also has a history of domestic abuse. 

          The case was investigated by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Longview Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

          The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Miyake and Ye‑Ting Woo.

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or
Updated February 25, 2019