Guilty Verdict In Wichita Murder Trial

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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April 15, 2011

A Sedgwick County jury has convicted a man in the shooting death of a 13-year-old Wichita boy.

The jury deliberated close to an hour before finding Alejandro Betancourt guilty of first degree murder, premeditated and felony murder.

Betancourt was found guilty in the June, 2009 shooting death of Miguel Andrade, 13. Police said Andrade's home was mistakenly targeted in the shooting.

Betancourt was convicted even though he did not fire the shots that killed Andrade. Prosecutors argued he took part in the planning of the shooting.

Betancourt will be sentenced in May.

Update: Wednesday, April 13, 2011<\B>

Testimony in the Alejandro Betancourt murder trial Wednesday included neighbors around 24th and Jackson who either saw or heard the shooting of 13 year-old Miguel Andrade.

The resident across the street provided the most compelling testimony, that his wife woke him up before 6:00 AM saying she noticed two boys near the Andrade home. He said he first thought they were trying to steal or burglarize the home.

One of the boys went to the front door and began knocking and ringing the doorbell. Andrade opened the door and the neighbor told the jury that he saw a man wearing a white and blue sports jersey open fire.

"There were a lot of shots," he said. "I heard eight shots all at once and then there were more after that."

Andrade fell to the floor inside the doorstep. His mother then ran outside screaming.

Office Heather Clark responded to the shooting. As she drove toward the area of 25th and Jackson, she testified that she saw a dark colored green Jeep leaving the area. The SUV matched the description from the neighbors.

Because of the seriousness of the call, she waited for backup before engaging a traffic stop, but the driver pulled over on his own without Clark activating her emergency lights.

The driver of the Jeep, Eli Betancourt, was wearing a white and blue sports jersey. The passenger was Alejandro Betancourt.

Testimony is expected to last until at least Thursday before the defense will have an opportunity to call their own witnesses. A defense attorney claims his client was merely the driver and that Eli Betancourt was the trigger man.

A third man in the Jeep that morning has already pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder. He is expected to testify against A. Betancourt in this trial.

Police have previously said that the group was attempting to retaliate a gang fight earlier in the month, but that they got the wrong house.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011<\B>

Dramatic testimony in a Sedgwick County courtroom this afternoon as the mother of a young shooting victim testified about the last moments of his life.

Silvia Martinez testified in the murder trial of Alejandro Betancourt Junior. Betancourt is charged in last summer's shooting death of 13-year-old Miguel Andrade. Investigators said Betancourt, his brother Eli, and two others were trying to retaliate a gang-related fight when they targeted the wrong house. Police say they knocked on Andrade's door and opened fire as he went to open it.

Martinez testified on the night of the shooting she heard a bang and then heard Andrade screaming. Martinez told jurors she pleaded with Andrade to get up so she could take him to the hospital. She said Andrade replied, "I can't, it hurts". Andrade died a short time after being transported to a hospital.

The prosecution says Alejandro Betancourt is guilty of premeditated first degree murder for planning the retaliation. They also say he was driving the 'getaway' car.

However, the defense says A. Betancourt was not the one who pulled the trigger, and was not aware of murder plans.

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