Soto found guilty of first degree murder

By Katherine Wartell

A jury found Domingo Soto, 42, guilty of first degree murder for aiding another person in committing murder in Riley County District Court Wednesday.

Soto was convicted of providing Michael Layne, 20, with the .45-caliber handgun that Layne is accused of using to murder Steve Freel, 31, on Dec. 6, 2011.

Freel’s body was found on the following day where he had been shot and left to die on a rural road near the 5300 block of N. 48th St.

Under Kansas law, Soto was found to be just as responsible as Freel’s alleged murderer for his death, thus the first degree murder charge.

Soto was also found guilty of possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

He was found not guilty of being in possession of drug paraphernalia and stolen property. It had been alleged that Layne and two others robbed a Manhattan woman at gunpoint at the behest of Soto, and that Soto was in possession of her property.

A first-degree murder conviction comes with a mandatory life sentence with the opportunity of parole after 25 years. Soto’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. in Riley County District Court.

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