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Soto waives rights; testimony added

By Katherine Wartell

Domingo Soto, accused of aiding and abetting the first-degree murder of Steve Freel, 31, appeared in Riley County District Court Thursday morning for a motion hearing in preparation of his upcoming trial.

The hearing was called to determine the admissibility of statements Soto made to detectives when he was initially arrested in December 2011 and to determine the testimony a witness would be allowed to make during the trial.

Soto is accused of providing Michael Layne, 20, with the gun that Layne allegedly used to murder Freel in early December 2011.

On Thursday, District Judge Meryl Wilson ruled that Soto voluntarily waived his Miranda rights after hearing testimony from former Riley county detective Ryan Runyan, presently an officer with Kansas State University. He granted that video and audio footage from Soto’s interview with Runyan can be used in Soto’s trial.

Wilson also granted that Reyna Youdath, 19, will be allowed to give testimony that Wilson determined excludes the hearsay rule, including comments Layne made to Youdath regarding his alleged shooting of Freel.

Youdath, who is not implicated in Freel’s murder, was arrested in December 2011 after police questioned her and discovered that she was involved in an alleged aggravated robbery with Layne and another woman that took place on the morning of Freel’s murder.

Youdath pled guilty to the aggravated robbery charge, and the state agreed to recommend 28 months in prison, which Youdath is presently serving, on the condition that she provide information and testify in court.

Youdath is scheduled to testify in both Soto and Layne’s trials. Layne will not testify in Soto’s trial.

Soto is also accused of intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, possession of methamphetamines, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen property. His five-day trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 29.

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