Update on Nancy Dillard Lyon’s Killer
(“Writer’s Block,” Forensic Files)
The last post told the story of the poisoning death of Richard Lyon’s wife, architect Nancy Dillard Lyon, at the age of 37.
Richard Lyon pleaded not guilty at his 1991 murder trial. But a Texas court rejected his blame-the-victim strategy, which included a contention that Nancy had brought about her own slow demise by intentionally consuming arsenic and barium carbonate over a long period of time.
A jury convicted him of first-degree murder, and Lyon began a life sentence at the W.F. Ramsey Unit prison farm at the tender age of 34.
Sorry, sir. He became eligible for parole 15 years later in 2006. That bid was rejected, although the Texas Department of Justice website gives no explanation.
On his most recent review date, February 3, 2016, a parole board denied him again and specified the reasons as “elements of brutality, violence” and “conscious selection of victim’s vulnerability.”
He posed “a continued threat to public safety,” according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
His next chance will come in 2021, when he’s 64.
In the meantime, Richard Lyon denies that he murdered his wife.
No rescue. A website created by Richard Lyon and his supporters solicits donations and pro bono legal help. He maintains that he had nothing to do with Nancy’s death:
“His supposed crime was that he poisoned his wife, Nancy, so he could inherit her money and status in the community and then, begin his new life with his mistress. This narrative has been spewed for decades and portrayed in film in addition to being plastered all over the Internet.”
Lyon has applied to the Innocence Project of Texas and New York, the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Innocence Project, and the House of Renewed Hope.
So far, those organizations have declined to take on his case.
Dillard parents. If he ever does get out, he won’t find Tami Ayn Gaisford — the co-worker with whom he began an affair while married to Nancy — waiting for him. She still lives in Texas but married someone else.
As for updates on family members of the Lyons, I wasn’t able to find out who took custody of the couple’s little daughters after Richard went to prison. But Allison and Anna are adults now.
Nancy’s father, William “Big Daddy” Dillard, died in 2006 after a 59-year marriage to Sue Stubbs Dillard that produced four children. She passed away in 2009.
(They are not the same Dillards who founded the Dillard’s department store chain. Nancy’s family made its fortune in commercial real estate.)
Another tragedy. Incidentally, William and Sue Dillard had already lost one of their adult children, Thomas, in 1986. He died of a brain tumor.
In murdering Nancy five years later, Richard Lyon took away yet another child from the Dillard family.
Let’s hope someone brings that up at the 2021 parole hearing.
That’s all for this post. Until next week, cheers. — RR