April 15, 2011

Sister-in-law says defendant called her after shooting

Alejandro Betancourt's sister-in-law said that he called her after the shooting of a 13-year-old boy last summer.

"We did it," Martha Iniguez remembered him saying.

Iniguez told this to a Wichita police officer who'd picked her up off the street last fall, jurors heard this morning in Betancourt's murder trial in the death of Miguel Angel Andrade Martinez.

Officer Heather Clark had also arrested Alejandro Betancourt, his younger brother Eli and Greg Patton just minutes after the shooting on June 20 near 24th and Jackson, which killed Miguel.

In September, Clark was working her patrol near downtown and saw Iniguez sitting in a windowsill of a closed business on north Broadway. Iniguez had her head resting in her lap and appeared to be asleep.

Clark remembered Iniguez began explaining that she was homeless. She'd lost her housing after her husband, Daniel Betancourt, had been arrested for being involved in a fight in May 2010.  Then her brothers-in-law had been arrested for a homicide, Clark testified that Iniguez told her.

The officer didn't talk about her role in Alejandro and Eli Betancourt's arrest.

"I was trying to make sure she was safe," Clark testified.

Clark said she asked few questions, as she tried to find Iniguez shelter. But the officer recalled this morning that Iniguez kept talking.

Iniguez said she felt guilty about Miguel's death, Clark testified.

She had chided Alejandro Betancourt to stand up for his brother, Daniel, who had been run over with a car and injured hit several times with boards that had nails in them. She urged him to take action.

Clark said she ran across Iniguez a week later. Again, Clark went to North Broadway when a male officer had called for her assistance.  Clark said Iniguez became angry. The other officer had learned about Iniguez's relationship with the Betancourts and pointed out Clark had arrested the men.

But as they drove to the Salvation Army shelter, Clark said Iniguez kept talking.

This time, Iniguez said she talked to Alejandro Betancourt the night before the shooting about taking revenge for Daniel. Then the next day, he called her.

"We did it," Iniguez heard him say.

Eli Betancourt awaits trial, accused of going up to the house with another teen, Eddie Laurel, and firing at the house.

"Eli did whatever Alex (Alejandro) tells him to," Clark said Iniguez told her.

Public defender Steve Osburn pointed out on cross-examination that Clark took several days to file the reports.

Iniguez, who also testified, told the jury she didn't remember the conversation.

"I was doing a lot of drugs back then," she said.

Daniel Betancourt pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and remains on probation.

"He had to do that to take care of his child," Iniguez told prosecutor C.J. Rieg.

A medical examiner testified that Miguel was shot 10 times.  Forensic pathologist Bamidele Adeagbo said five bullets passed through the 13-year-old's body, killing him.

The trial is set to continue this afternoon before Sedgwick County Judge Ben Burgess.

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