Featured News, Siskiyou

Son Sentenced in the Killing of John and Carol Doyle

Source  County of Siskiyou Office of the District Attorney

J. Kirk Andrus, District Attorney

Damion Nicoll Doyle, 29, of Weed, was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison for killing his adopted father

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On Thursday, December 15, 2022, Damion Nicoll Doyle, 29, of Weed, was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison for killing his adopted father John Doyle, 69, and 35 years to life in prison for killing his adopted mother Carol Doyle, 67.

At 7:19 am on July 5, 2016, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 hang up from a phone number from the John and Carol Doyle residence on Highway A-12 in the Big Springs area of Siskiyou County. Dispatch called the number back at 7:22 am but received no answer and radioed to deputies—sending them to the address at 7:25 am. At the Doyle residence they found Carol Doyle in nightwear lying outside the residence deceased with a gunshot would to the back of her head. They then found John Doyle inside the residence deceased with a gunshot wound through his mouth. Five .45 caliber Federal brand shell casings were found inside the residence and one on the walkway near Carol Doyle. It was apparent that a bullet had gone through a window in the room where John Doyle was located, another through the drywall below the window, and it appeared as though one had impacted the stonework on a fireplace hearth. One expended bullet was recovered outside on a deck and another nearby embedded in an outdoor support beam. There was no sign of forced entry to the residence. All windows and doors were locked with the exception of exterior doors to the kitchen and the area where Mrs. Doyle was found. While inside the crime scene, investigators noticed that the decedents were receiving numerous calls from their son Damion. While at the scene Lt. Houtman noted several surveillance cameras located on a shop building with one camera pointed toward the west side of the residence where Mrs. Doyle lay.

At approximately 11:30 am Damion arrived at the gate outside the Doyle residence. Investigators, including Undersheriff James Randall who was the Detective Sergeant at the time, and District Attorney Investigator Jesus Fernandez, who was a detective at the time, met him there where he told them that he hadn’t been to the home in several weeks, last spoke to his parents the day prior, and had been working for hours that morning at a work site outside of Weed, from 6:00 am to around 9:00 am. After an extended conversation Damion was informed that both of his parents were deceased. Up to that point he had not inquired about them or why law enforcement officers were at their home. During the conversation he never did ask what had happened to his parents or how they had died.

Damion also told investigators that he was not welcome at his parents’ home and that they did not trust him. Investigators later learned that the Doyles had discovered that Damion had stolen approximately $40,000 from them, that he was working for them at their rental properties, and that they had very demanding standards. During a search of the Doyle residence several firearms were located but nothing with .45 caliber. However, a box for .45 Federal ammunition, a compact .45 Glock 10 round magazine, and a holster for a .45 were found.

Later that day the detectives were able to view the surveillance footage. Only the camera facing the house had been activated. Watching the footage, the detectives saw what appeared to be a thin, 5’10” to 6’0” male walk out the door to the house at 6:28 am, turn left, and hide behind the door he had just exited. Seconds later Carol exited the same door. She did not appear excited, hurried or scared. She turned to the right and was almost immediately shot in the back of the head by the male. The male calmly walked back into the residence. He was seen to go in and out of the house several times. At 7:21 am John Doyle is seen walking toward Carol, kneeling down over her, and then standing and moving rapidly back out of the frame. At 7:23 am the male shooter is seen exiting the residence and wiping exposed areas, including the door handle, with a cloth in his hand. He is seen to drop the cloth, step over Carol, and begin to run away from the area. The first deputy is seen on camera finding Carol’s body at 7:47 am.

Limitations due to distance and lighting made it impossible to determine the identity of the shooter from the video alone. The clothing seen on the shooter was not distinctive with the exception of a hat with a discernible pattern. Damien Doyle was listed as 5’11” and 156 pounds. Detectives returned to the crime scene and located the cloth, which turned out to be a pillowcase, where they had seen it dropped. They submitted it to the Department of Justice BFS laboratory for DNA testing.

The next day, July 6, 2016, detectives went to Damion’s residence in Weed. During a search of the residence Sergeant Randall located a hat that appeared to have the same distinctive pattern as that worn by the killer. Detective Fernandez searched the girlfriend’s vehicle and located a compact .45 caliber Glock ten round magazine lodged between the rear seat cushions. The magazine was identical to the one found at the Doyle residence. There were 3 live Federal brand rounds in the magazine. When asked, Damion stated that he did not know how the magazine got into the vehicle, that his fingerprints would be on the magazine—and that his fingerprints would be on the bullets because he is “curious” and likes to remove them and count them. When asked by Sgt. Randall how it got into the car, Damion blamed some “country boys” parked next to them at the Lake Siskiyou fireworks display two days earlier and that one of them must have dropped it there. He said that he saw it and moved it that night but did nothing to determine who it belonged to or if anybody had misplaced it. Sgt. Randall then asked how he would explain if the ammunition in the magazine was from the same batch as those used by the killer. Damion stated that “maybe” whoever had lost the magazine had attended a fundraiser at a local shooting range the previous weekend with his father and his father had given them the bullets.

The next day, July 7, 2016, detectives spoke to Damion again. He admitted that he had been driving his girlfriend’s vehicle on the morning of his parents’ death and told the detectives the route had claimed to have driven that morning after leaving his home. Also, on this date the detectives checked on Damion’s alibi. The employers told detectives that they believed Damion had been there from 6:00 am until 9:00 am but based this on Damion’s statements and the amount of work he had accomplished. With the detectives present, the employers went out to inspect Damion’s work of that morning. What they saw made them question their assertions, noting that little work had been done and it would not take 3 hours to complete what he had accomplished. They later called Damion’s assertions an “illusion and a lie.” Nobody had actually seen Damion at that location prior to sometime around 8:00 am on July 5, 2016.

Using Damion’s timeline from the morning of July 5th, detectives searched surveillance video from businesses on the route he claimed to have taken. His vehicle was not seen driving those roads at the early hour of the morning. However, when reviewing the same surveillance video, the vehicle Damion was driving was seen at 7:41 am in a location 15 miles by road from the Doyle residence, approximately 18 minutes after the shooter left the murder scene.

On July 18, 2016, the DOJ Laboratory reported that two individual DNA profiles were found on the pillowcase, one major and one minor contributor. The DNA profile of the major contributor was found to by overwhelmingly strong evidence to match Damion Nicoll Doyle.

Shortly thereafter detectives were contacted by a friend of Damion’s. The friend stated that he had given Damion a firearm two years earlier when he had moved out of state. The firearm was a compact .45 Glock semi-automatic handgun. This firearm matched the compact magazines found at the Doyle residence and in the girlfriend’s vehicle. A few days after the murder another friend visited Damion and asked him where his .45 handgun was that the first friend had given him. Damion responded, “it’s gone.” Damion then said, “in pieces.” Damion was arrested for the murder of his parents on July 26, 2016.

At the time of the murders the defendant was the sole beneficiary of the Doyle Family Trust, which controlled a primary residence and 4 rental properties, and well over a million dollars in different accounts. He was named sole beneficiary of his father’s accounts 8 months before the murder. He was named sole beneficiary of his mother’s accounts 21 days before he killed her. Additionally, John Doyle was set to officially retire on July 14, 2016. That retirement would have voided a $1,000,000 life insurance policy held by his employer that was set to be replaced by a $300,000 policy. Damion killed his father 9 days before the official retirement date.

District Attorney Kirk Andrus charged Damion with first degree murder of both parents on July 28, 2016. A preliminary hearing was held on November 16, 2017. On July 9, 2018, the public defender’s office declared a conflict and a new attorney was appointed. 11 trial dates were set in the next 4 years but were vacated for a variety of reasons related to court schedules and the Covid virus.

In the meantime, given the large sums the Damion was set to inherit if not found responsible for the murders, he was busy trying to find a way to compromise the prosecution case against him. He took advantage of the fact that some local thieves had ransacked his parents’ property after the murders. He offered several of them inducements to help him frame a local man for the murder by having them tell authorities that they had overheard him planning to rob the Doyles and then lamenting that it went wrong, and he had to kill them. Unfortunately for Damion, two of them informed authorities that Damion had offered to pay them to make the false statements. One had already lied to investigators and later admitted that his statement had been untrue. The other had actually taken a picture with his phone through the visitor room glass at the jail and provided authorities with the note written by Damion as follows:

“Here’s what you’d have to tell my investigator: ‘You were hanging out with this guy somewhere (you pick the place) and my parents property (the Doyles) came up in conversation as to having a bunch of cars that were free for the taking and how he went out to rob them and ended up shooting them when they got in the way.’ [This all happened July 5th, 2016 so sometime shortly after that would be good].”

The noted also instructed: “You can’t mention any kind of deal between you or I cause the DA would eat that up. But as far as they know, we don’t know each other. My word and $ is good, I have to be out to get it though. If you want proof of my finances I’ll bring it out and show you.”

The note finished: “One more thing: My lawyer says it would be good if someone heard him talking about robbing and killing them before July 5th but don’t know why. I have 2 of those six people saying that already but the more the better.”

On July 11, 2022, the eve of the last trial setting Damion entered a no contest plea to first degree murder of both parents with use of a firearm.

At his sentencing hearing on December 15, 2022, the defendant was sentenced by Judge John Lawrence to 35 years to life for each murder. The defendant did not speak at the hearing, but his attorney stated to the Court that Damion ‘was not the one who shot his parents.’ District Attorney Kirk Andrus told the Court that the Doyle’s had adopted Damion when he was 4 years old and had saved him. He also said that the Doyle’s were people who were respected in the community and cared about important things—and that Damion had certainly shot them both, one in the back of the head and one in the front. Judge Lawrence awarded the defendant over 2,300 days of custody credit for time served in the Siskiyou County Jail since July 26, 2016.

Mr. Andrus highlighted the excellent investigative work of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. According to Mr. Andrus, “this was an incredibly long process that we always expected would end with a jury trial. His change of plea was a surprise, and Damion’s denials at sentencing were his last attempt to escape some sort of responsibility even though his plea refutes that completely.” Mr. Andrus continued, “We will probably never fully know what led to the violent end to this family, but John and Carol Doyle will be remembered by friends and loved ones as industrious, intelligent and caring people who did nothing to deserve the violence that ended their lives.”

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