Drake pleads not guilty to murder charge

By Katherine Wartell

Cole Drake pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in Riley County District Court Monday and waived his right to a trial within 90 days.

Drake, 15, is accused of the shooting death of Tyler Dowling, 14, a Manhattan High School freshman whose body was found in a field near Eisenhower Middle School on April 13, 2011.

He is also accused of aggravated robbery for allegedly taking items from Dowling, including his cell phone.

In February, District Judge David Stutzman ruled that Drake will be prosecuted as an adult. That ruling followed a two-day hearing that included testimony from RCPD detectives, mental health professionals, and acquaintances of both Drake and Dowling.

First-degree murder as committed by an adult carries a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before parole eligibility.

At Monday’s arraignment, Stutzman set Drake’s bond at $500,000.

Drake’s trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 24 and last through Sept. 29. A motions hearing has been set for Aug. 9.

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