Local

August 28, 2014

Murder charge refiled in 2013 shooting death

Antonio Bell was charged in the shooting death of Deandre Freeman Jr. in March, but Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett asked for the case to be dismissed without prejudice earlier this month. The case was refiled Thursday.

Prosecutors on Thursday refiled a second-degree murder charge against Antonio Bell, who is accused of killing a man whose body was discovered in a ditch near Kechi last fall.

Bell was originally charged in the shooting death of Deandre Freeman Jr. in March, but Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett asked for that case to be dismissed without prejudice earlier this month. The district attorney’s office would not give specifics as to why that request was made, saying only that the case could be refiled at a later date.

Bell made his first appearance in the latest murder case Thursday afternoon in the courtroom of Sedgwick County District Court Judge Joe Kisner. The 23-year-old was dressed in red and appeared agitated as he spoke heatedly via video link from the Sedgwick County Jail. He is being held there on $250,000 bond in the murder case and $50,000 bond on an unrelated drug charge.

“Do you understand what they’ve charged you with?” Kisner asked after confirming Bell’s identity and advising him of the count.

“Nah, man,” Bell replied. “I’ve already been here on this.”

Kisner then read aloud from a court document that briefly outlined the murder allegation as Bell continued voicing complaints.

Kisner set Bell’s case for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 18. The proceeding, at which a judge will hear testimony and decide whether sufficient evidence exists to bind a defendant over for trial, could be postponed.

Freeman’s body was found Sept. 30, 2013, in the 8000 block of North Oliver. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has said Freeman and Bell were documented gang members and knew each another.

Bell, in a handwritten document filed in the original case, called the murder charge “frivolous.”

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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