Arraignment Set For Man Charged In Riley Co. Murder Investigation

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- The case of a Manhattan man accused of providing the murder weapon in a deadly shooting is moving forward in Riley County court.

Domingo “Diablo” Soto, 42, appeared in Magistrate Court Friday for a preliminary hearing.

Soto is charged with Aiding and Abetting First Degree 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.

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 Steve 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.

Another female witness testified against Soto and said that he told her he gave the gun to Layne and that Layne was going to shoot someone but the defense tried to poke holes in her credibility.

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 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.

Judge William Malcolm found probable cause in the case and bound Soto over for trial. His arraignment is set for March 12 at 2:30 PM.

He’s being held in the Riley County Jail.


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