Archive for Friday, July 30, 2004

Drug link cited by DA in slaying

July 30, 2004

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— The men who shot and killed a man in front of his wife and children at a Topeka car wash apparently were looking for money to buy drugs, the county prosecutor said.

Mark Duncan, 39, died shortly after being shot on July 7 at a car wash on the city's southeast side. In a statement issued Wednesday, Shawnee County Dist. Atty. Robert Hecht called the killing "another tragic consequence of the senseless homicide that emanates from the serious drug problems that face this community."

"The investigation is very strongly suggesting that attempted robbery was in the effort to obtain money necessary to purchase methamphetamines or the ingredients for methamphetamines," the prosecutor said in an interview.

Michael O. Bennett, 26, and Jesse J. Romero, 19, both of Topeka, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder. Both are in the Shawnee County Jail on $1 million bonds.

Jesse D. Chandler, 18, whose address was not given, was charged Sunday with first-degree murder. On Wednesday, he was released from the jail in Oklahoma's Creek County and turned over to Kansas law enforcement officers, who brought him back to Topeka.

Meanwhile, bond was set at $25,000 Wednesday for David D. Erwin, 20, of Eudora, who was arrested Tuesday and charged with aiding a felon. Hecht said Erwin's arrest was in connection with disposal of a weapon used in the crime.

Hecht said he did not expect any more homicide arrests in the case, but that police were "looking at other people."

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