Convictions, life sentences upheld in “Cathouse” slayings

Russell Lee Hogshooter

FILE – In this June 16, 2016, file photo, Russell Lee Hogshooter, center, is escorted from the courtroom as the case goes to jury in the penalty phase of his trial in Oklahoma City. An Oklahoma appeals court has upheld the murder convictions and life without parole sentences of two men convicted in 2009 slayings of four people, including a woman who was featured in the HBO series “Cathouse.” The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday, July 23, 2020, rejected appeals of Hogshooter and Denny Edward Phillips for the slayings that included 22-year-old Brooke Phillips, who appeared in the HBO series about the Moonlite BunnyRanch, a legal brothel in Nevada. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An appeals court on Thursday affirmed the murder convictions and life sentences of two men in the 2009 slayings of four people in Oklahoma City, including a woman who was featured on the HBO series “Cathouse.”

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected appeals from Russell Lee Hogshooter, 43, and Denny Edward Phillips, 42, who were both sentenced to six life without parole terms. The men were convicted of six counts of murder in the deaths of the deaths of Brooke Phillips, 22; Milagros Barrera, 22; Jennifer Lynn Ermey, 25; and Casey Mark Barrientos, 32. The two additional murder charges were because Brooke Phillips and Barrera were both pregnant.

Denny Phillips is not related to Brooke Phillips, who had appeared in the HBO series about the Moonlite BunnyRanch, a legal brothel near Carson City, Nevada.

Prosecutors said Denny Phillips ordered the killing of Barrientos to take over his illegal drug operation and that the women were killed to eliminate witnesses. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for both men.

Hogshooter and Phillips argued that some of the evidence presented at trial was improper, including photographs of the victims’ bodies and limits on the cross-examination about another co-defendant’s military mental health records. They also argued that their lawyers were ineffective.

Hogshooter also contended the two men should have had separate trials.

Attorneys for the men did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

Two other co-defendants, David Tyner and Jonathan Cochran, pleaded guilty in the case as part of a deal with prosecutors and testified against Hogshooter and Phillips.

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