Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Cathouse Murders


Brooke Phillips
Brooke Phillips
The autopsies showed that all four victims had been shot and that the gunshots had resulted in their deaths. Two of the female victims had also been pregnantbringing the death toll to six.

"If a woman is pregnant and she is the victim of a homicide, typically that is counted as two homicides," Knight said.

Because the gunshots had been the cause of the victims' deaths, it now appeared that the fire had been set to conceal the crime of murder.

The victims were eventually identified as Brooke Phillips, 22; her unborn baby; Milagros Barrera, 22, also known as Millie; her unborn baby; Jennifer Ermey, 25; and Casey Barrientos, 32.

According to partial autopsy reports, Phillips' cause of death was determined to be a "perforating gunshot wound" to her head, specifically to the right temple. The autopsy report also showed that Phillips' throat had been slit, and she had been stabbed in her abdomen. She also had suffered gunshots to her left arm, left index finger, and right leg, and had cuts to her hands and a wrist. The presence of a petroleum odor was also noted. Barrera's cause of death was said to be "perforating gunshot wounds" to her back and head. Barrera had also been shot in the thigh.

Victims from left to right: Milagros
Victims from left to right: Milagros "Millie" Barrera, Jennifer Ermey and Casey Barrientos

According to charge documents filed in Oklahoma County District Court, all of the victims had sustained stabbing and gunshot wounds.

Although Phillips' body was burned nearly beyond recognition, the postmortem examination revealed a profane tattoo on the inside of her lower lip. Her relatives later told the police she would pull her lip down and expose the tattoo to those with whom she became upset.

According to a friend, Phillips had been shot six times. A relative, said the friend, identified Phillips' badly-burned corpse by the tattoos on her body.

As he continued working the case with his colleagues, Detective Porter indicated in an affidavit and application for an arrest warrant that he had been able to locate and interview an eyewitness who had been present inside the house when the shootings occurred. According to the witness, a person referred to as "Hooligan" had been arguing with one of the victims when the shooting began. Although "Hooligan" told the witness that his problem was not with the witness, the witness nonetheless ran from the house and escaped.

Porter and his colleagues also learned from a neighbor that a car had been heard leaving the house approximately 20 minutes before anyone noticed that the house was on fire.

A short time later, Porter identified "Hooligan" as David Allen Tyner, 28. His whereabouts were unknown.


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