Murder trial of 'Cathouse' prostitute opens in Oklahoma

Reuters News
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Posted: May 16, 2016 1:19 PM

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of two men accused of committing six murders in a raid on a drug house, including the killing of a former prostitute featured on the HBO reality television show “Cathouse.”

Denny Phillips, 38, and Russell Hogshooter, 38, are accused of shooting four people in the 2009 attack in Oklahoma City, including Brooke Phillips, 22, who was featured in the reality show about Nevada’s legal brothel Moonlite BunnyRanch and was pregnant at the time of her death.

The other victims were Casey Barrientos 32, Jennifer Ermey, 25 and Milagros “Millie” Barrera, 22, who was also pregnant at the time.

If convicted, both men, who police said have ties to criminal gangs, could face the death penalty.

The plan was to rob Barrientos, who police said was a local drug dealer, while no one was home. But the attackers changed plans and set out to kill anyone they found inside the home, they said.

Prosecutors said the women were killed to silence them as witnesses. Since two women were pregnant, Oklahoma law allows for the suspects to be charged with murder for the deaths of the fetuses.

Two other men who took part in the attack reached plea deals and are likely to testify against the two men on trial. Both are in prison, with one serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole and the other a sentence of 25 years.

Phillips was shot in the head, had her throat slit and was stabbed in her abdomen, according to a police affidavit.

According to court officials, the trial is expected to last up to a month.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alistair Bell)