Man charged with murder in 2-year-old case

WICHITA — A 27-year-old man was charged this afternoon in connection with a 2-year-old homicide, Wichita police announced today.

Jason A. Cruz made his first court appearance this afternoon, charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm. He is in the Sedgwick County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Police arrested Cruz Friday in the shooting death of 22-year-old Jeff Johnson at the Baby Dolls nightclub in the 4900 block of North Arkansas on March 8, 2007.

Cruz is also charged with wounding a 24-year-old man that night.

Sedgwick County District Judge Ben Burgess appointed Cruz a lawyer and set a preliminary hearing for March 15.

The surviving victim told police he and Johnson were leaving the club when they were attacked by several men they didn't know.

Police said several bullet casings were found near the club's door, though they weren't sure whether the incident started there or in the parking lot. They also didn't know why the two men were targeted.

Cruz also was charged with the murder of Larry Burnett, 21, in the 600 block of South Holland on Aug. 24, 2008. His trial on that charge ended in a hung jury.

Cruz was already in the Sedgwick County Jail on other charges when he was arrested in connection with the Johnson homicide, police said.

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