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Suspects in shooting death make first appearance
new deh alejo villegas mug cropped
Alejo Villegas

 Two Great Bend men had their first appearance in Barton County District Court Wednesday in connection with the Nov. 15 break-in that resulted in the shooting death of 23-year-old Aron Villegas.

Alejo Villegas, age 20, and Juventino Villegas, age 22, took turns standing before District Judge Ron Svaty as Assistant Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor read aloud the list of charges. According to the court documents, all stemmed from early Sunday morning, Nov. 15, when the two joined Adam Suppes and Aron Villegas and allegedly barged into Sterling Mills’ home at 1801 Eighth St. in Great Bend and assaulted him with a deadly weapon, during which Aron Villegas was shot. 

Alejo Villegas’ appearance was Wednesday morning. He faces counts of 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 faced the judge Wednesday afternoon. Counts against him include 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.

The most serious of their charges is first-degree murder which carries a possible life sentence.

Alejo Villegas was arrested in Wichita and is currently being held in the Barton County Jail, according to jail records. Juventino Villegas was apprehended in Decatur County and is being held in the Russell County Jail.

Bond for both is $1 million. As directed by Mellor, should they make bond, they must not contact the victims, witnesses, co-defendants or any members of the Mills family, and they must remain in Kansas and report twice per week to 20th Judicial District Court Services.

Preliminary hearings for both the Villegas was set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Related to this case, on Nov. 24, Suppes, Great Bend, was arrested in connection with the break-in and shooting. He was booked into the Barton County Jail for 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. Bond was set at $1 million.

His bond was reduced to $250,000 and was released on bond Tuesday.

He has already had his first appearance. A preliminary hearing has not been set.

Just the three were charged with murder doesn’t mean they mean they were directly involved in killing Aron Villegas. According to state law, an individual can be charged with murder if they are colluding with the victim in the commission of a crime that leads to the death.

At around 10 a.m. that Sunday, law enforcement officers responded to a call regarding the shooting of Aron Villegas at 2903 Lakin. Although medical treatment was initiated and the man was transferred to Great Bend Regional Hospital, he died as a result of his injuries.

The incident allegedly started earlier that morning when the subjects forced their way into the Mills house at 1801 Eighth St. It was during this incident that Aron Villegas was shot.

The Great Bend Police Department is the lead agency on the case and is being assisted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews has asked law enforcement officials to allow his office to release all information about the case. However, this has come to a stand-still as Matthews has been slow in releasing any further details.

The Great Bend Tribune has filed requests with the Barton County Clerk of the District Court to receive copies of pertinent documents that are a matter of public record, including the arrest warrants. The county attorney requested those documents be sealed.

The Tribune is waiting for a judge to settle this matter.