After nearly two days of deliberation, a jury on Thursday (April 11) found Los Altos resident Steve Hlebo, 42, guilty of murdering Kyle Myrick, 28, of San Jose, according to the Santa Clara County Public Portal.
Police arrested Hlebo Jan. 23, 2016, the day after Myrick’s disappearance, largely based on testimony from a witness who worked with both Hlebo and Myrick at GP Sports, a motorcycle shop in San Jose. The witness stated that Myrick was sent to a lot behind GP Sports to help Hlebo with a project. When the witness went to check on them, the gate to the lot was locked. Hlebo opened it, telling the witness that he did not know Myrick’s whereabouts, the police report said.
Later in the day, the witness began worrying about Myrick and returned to the gated lot. Hlebo again opened the gate, locked it and reportedly gave the witness a “nonsensical answer” when the witness inquired why Hlebo’s personal vehicle, a GMC Sierra 1500, was backed up to the rear door of a vacant building on the shop’s grounds.
The witness then suggested searching the vacant building for Myrick, but Hlebo refused to check it because he insisted there were “ghosts in there,” the report indicated.
An hour later, Hlebo left for the day and several co-workers searched for Myrick. In a small storage room, the employees found “a great deal of fresh blood on the walls and floor,” the police report stated.
Investigators speculated that someone had been dragged from the crime scene to where Hlebo’s vehicle had been parked, including the chilling detail that “a severed human ear (was) lying in a pool of blood on the floor.” They concluded from the evidence that Hlebo had assaulted Myrick and removed his body from the scene.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. that night, police surrounded Hlebo’s home on Los Ninos Way in Los Altos. Hlebo returned to his residence just after 2 a.m., police said. Based on the circumstances, which police believed at the time included “the fear that Myrick was still potentially alive and in need of medical assistance,” police entered the house and arrested Hlebo as the primary suspect.
Hlebo was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail and held without bail while police obtained search warrants to examine his car. Their search yielded the sight of “a large amount of blood” in the cab of Hlebo’s truck, according to the police report. His GMC was then confiscated by police.
Hlebo claimed he and Myrick had gotten into a physical altercation, the report said, but he later told a family member that he had killed Myrick and disposed of his body in the ocean.
Five days after the arrest, a search party found Myrick’s body off Jameson Creek Road in Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Myrick’s family and friends waited more than two years for his alleged killer’s indictment, which occurred Aug. 30. Hlebo originally pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, and he was found guilty of second-degree murder by the jury at the conclusion of the trial, which started March 26, according to Sumerle Davis, the Santa Clara County prosecutor assigned to the case.
Hlebo is scheduled to return to court June 14 for sentencing. Davis stated that the sentence for second-degree murder as prescribed by law is 15 years to life.