By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
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 four years old, their families close, and he often babysat her. Phillips knew Sanders's 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 after it all unfolded.
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.
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. 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: At 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 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, she 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.