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Drake sentencing Monday

Trial for man accused of aiding in a different murder also set to begin

By Katherine Wartell

The 16-year-old Manhattan High School student convicted of killing fellow student Tyler Dowling will be sentenced Monday afternoon in Riley County District Court.

Cole Drake pleaded no contest to the amended charges of intentional second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and six counts of vehicular burglary in September, four days before the start of his trial for the original charge of first-degree murder.

His sentencing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Monday in front of District Judge David Stutzman.

Drake signed the plea agreement through his attorneys Larry McRell and Brenda Jordan following more than a year of hearings in which Drake’s video confession with Riley County detectives was deemed admissible as evidence and it was determined that Drake would be tried as an adult.

Dowling’s body was found on April 13, 2011, in a field near Eisenhower Middle School. He had been shot in the back of his neck and lower back.

In a video confession, Drake told detectives that he shot Dowling, 14, to impress another student who was reportedly upset with Dowling.

The vehicular burglary charges allegedly stem from “car-hopping” incidents where Drake burglarized parked vehicles. Five of those counts occurred on April 12, while one occurred earlier on Dec. 24, 2010.

In other court news, the trial for a Manhattan man accused of aiding and abetting in the first-degree murder of Steve Freel is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday in Riley County District Court.

Domingo Soto, 42, is charged with providing Michael Layne, 20, with the firearm that Layne is accused of using to kill Freel, 31.

Freel’s body was found on Dec. 7, 2011, on a rural road near the 5300 block of North 48th Street. Officials with the Riley County Police Department have said that Freel allegedly was a former associate of Layne’s, but that their relationship soured. They said Freel and Layne were suspects in past armed robberies.

Soto’s trial is expected to take five days.









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