Soto Arraigned In Connection With Riley Co. Murder Case

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- The man accused of providing the weapon used in a deadly shooting outside of Manhattan pleaded not guilty to all of his charges Monday in Riley County District Court.

Domingo “Diablo” Soto was arraigned Monday afternoon.

Soto is charged with Aiding and Abetting First Premeditated Murder in connection with the death of Steven Freel, 31, who was shot and killed on a dirt road outside of Manhattan on December 6, 2011. Freel’s body was discovered the next morning by a passerby.

Riley County detectives say Soto admitted to lending his gun to the murder suspect, Michael Blake Layne, 19, but claims he gave it to Layne for protection.

Police say Layne was selling drugs for Domingo Soto. At the time of the murder, Layne was having a dispute with Steven Freel over some past robberies they had done together, according to detectives, and Layne asked Soto if he could borrow his pistol so he could kill Freel. Soto said he agreed to lend Layne the gun because he knew Layne and Freel were arguing and wanted Layne to be able to protect himself.

Soto is also facing drug charges- Possession of Cocaine With the Intent to Distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine With the Intent to Distribute and Possession of Marijuana With the Intent to Distribute.

Investigators say Soto admitted to dealing meth and marijuana and previously testified that they found evidence in his home that he was also dealing cocaine. All three drugs were found in his trailer, according to police.

Soto’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM. Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson says a trial date will most likely be set at that hearing.

He’s being held in the Riley County Jail.


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