District Judge Ron Svaty further reduced the bond Friday for 20-year-old Alejo Villegas, one of three people facing first-degree murder charges in the Nov. 15, 2015, shooting death of Aron Villegas.
Bond was initially set at $1 million for each suspect. Adam Suppes posted a surety bond and was released on Dec. 1, 2015, after bond was reduced to $250,000. Juventino Villegas, age 22, and Alejo Villegas were still in custody as of 5 p.m. Friday.
At Friday’s hearing, Alejo Villegas’s defense attorney, Richard Ney, said his client’s family raised the $25,000 needed for a bondsman, but couldn’t come up with $250,000 in property as security. They can afford a $150,000 bond, Ney said, adding his client would be willing to wear a GPS monitoring device on his ankle and would adhere to other bond restrictions.
Svaty granted the reduced bond, adding Villegas is responsible for arranging for the monitoring device at his own expense. He is to have no contact “with the Mills family.”
Villegas is a junior at Wichita State University and he is a student assistant to a WSU professor, Ney said.
“His intent would be to go back to WSU and continue his studies.”
Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews has limited the amount of public information on this case, including who shot Aron Villegas.
“No one is saying Alejo shot anybody,” Ney said at the bond hearing. “It was his brother who died.” Aron Villegas was “shot by the resident,” he added.
People involved in the commission of a felony can be charged with the murder of another suspect, even though they didn’t kill him. The criminal complaints allege that Alejo Villegas, Juventino Villegas and Adam Suppes were with Aron Villegas in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2015, when they entered the residence of Sterling Mills at 1801 Eighth St. with the intent to batter and/or rob Mills.
Ney said Alejo Villegas is not homicidal and is not a flight risk. Friends and family were in the courtroom to demonstrate the latter point.
Judge Svaty asked Villegas’s relatives to raise their hands, and estimated the number was 35-40. He noted that there would be a lot of money at stake for many of those people if the defendant jumped bond.
Matthews argued that bond should not be reduced beyond the $250,000 already granted, since Alejo Villegas is alleged to have committed a felony and is charged with first-degree murder.