The Barton County Attorney’s Office has conceded that current Kansas law does not support the first-degree murder charges that were filed against Adam Suppes, Alejo Villegas and Juventino Villegas.
Preliminary hearings for the three men charged in the death of Aron Villegas concluded on March 31 in Barton County District Court. Magistrate Judge Don Alvord has not yet ruled on the outcome of the preliminary examinations.
The defendants were charged with the murder of their friend and relative, Aron Villeas, who was shot after breaking into a Great Bend home on Nov. 15, 2015.
Aron Villegas was shot by Sterling Mills, the occupant of the house at 1801 Eighth St. The state presented testimony that this occurred after all or some the suspects and the deceased broke into the house and proceeded to batter Mills.
Using the definition that first-degree murder can include “the killing of a human being committed in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from an inherently dangerous felony,” they were charge with that crime.
But, at the preliminary hearing, defense attorneys cited Kansas Supreme Court rulings in State v Murphy and State v Sophophone. Since Aron Villegas was killed in self defense by the victim, and not by an alleged co-felon, the defense argued first-degree murder was not a valid charge.
The Barton County Attorney’s Office was given 10 days to file a response. Assistant County Attorney Amy Mellor filed the response on Thursday, April 14.
“The state concedes that the current case law does not support binding the defendant over for trial on Court 1,” the first-degree murder charge.
Alejo Villegas was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, aiding and abetting the aggravated battery of Mills, criminal damage to property and aiding and abetting in criminal damage to property.
Juventino Villegas was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, aiding and abetting aggravated battery, criminal damage to property and aiding and abetting in criminal damage to property.
Adam Suppes was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, aggravated battery, unlawful possession of cocaine, criminal damage to property, aid and abet criminal damage to property.