Crime & Courts

Brothers to stand trial in death of 13-year-old

Silvia Martinez was still in bed when she heard the pop, pop, pop of gunshots outside her house on a Sunday morning last June.

"They got me! They got me!" Martinez said she heard her 13-year-old son saying in Spanish.

Miguel Angel Andrade Martinez died from multiple gunshot wounds the morning of June 20.

On Tuesday a Sedgwick County District Court judge ordered two men to stand trial on murder charges following a preliminary hearing.

Eli and Alejandro Betancourt face trial on charges of first-degree murder and firing at an occupied dwelling. They are scheduled to enter pleas at an arraignment this morning before Judge Warren Wilbert. A third defendant, 16, faces a hearing in juvenile court next month on whether he will be tried as an adult.

They would all face life in prison if convicted.

A fourth man may go free, because he testified against them.

Earlier this month, Gregory Patton, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors have agreed to recommend probation and asked that he be released with no cash bond.

Patton said he didn't participate in the killing.

"So why did you plead guilty to something you didn't do?" asked Alice Osburn, attorney for Eli Betancourt.

"Why would I sit in jail for a year waiting for a trial when I could be free today?" Patton said.

Patton testified that he had been at a birthday party the night before the shooting with Eli and Alejandro Betancourt. They left about 5 a.m.

They stopped by the house of the 16-year-old charged in the case, Patton said, where Eli, 19, obtained a gun.

The 16-year-old also was armed, Patton said.

Patton said the men had talked about a fight weeks before involving the Betancourts' other brother, Daniel. Daniel Betancourt had been arrested. He and Eli were members of a gang, Patton testified.

"They said they were going to shoot someone," Patton said.

Alejandro Betancourt, 26, drove the four of them past the house on Jackson, where Miguel would be shot to death.

Patton said he watched Eli and the 16-year-old get out of the car and walk toward the house.

"Listen for it," Patton testified that Alejandro said.

Patton heard gunshots.

Patton said Alejandro drove over a block and picked up Eli and the 16-year-old. They dropped off the 16-year-old at his house.

Within minutes of the shooting call, Wichita police Officer Heather Clark said she heard that three Hispanic men may have been involved in the shooting.

Although she didn't have a vehicle description, Clark saw a Jeep with three men she thought might be the suspects. She began following them, and they voluntarily pulled over, Clark testified.

It was Patton and the Betancourts.

After his arrest, Eli Betancourt talked to detectives, including Chad Beard of the Wichita police gang unit.

Beard testified:

Eli's brother Daniel was a member of the NSGs — Northside Gangstas.

Several other NSGs had chided Eli at the birthday party for not standing up for his brother.

Eli told police he and an NSG went to the house on Jackson and knocked on the door.

They waited for the door knob to begin turning and then opened fire with 14 shots.

Police would later say the man who was the target didn't live at that house.