Crime & Courts

Man's dying words, cellphone led police to defendant

When Wichita police answered a shooting call at an apartment in west Wichita two springs ago, officers found Vincent Barnes struggling to breathe. But he was still able to talk.

Officer Jason Newberry asked Barnes who shot him.

"He said Mickey, or Nicky," Newberry testified today in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Reed in Sedgwick County District Court. Newberry was recalling the night he responded to the call the night of May 15, 2009, near Central and West streets.

Barnes then told Newberry to look on his cellphone.

"There would be information on there about who shot him." Newberry said.

Barnes then lost consciousness, Newberry said, and stopped breathing as emergency crews took him out of the apartment. He died a short time later at the hospital. He was 33.

Newberry was assigned to go check the body. But police passed along Barnes' phone.

Back at police headquarters at City Hall, Detective Robert Shea noted all 120 contacts in Barnes' phone. Most had nicknames. He found "Micky Norm Budy."

Police couldn't tell what the name meant, but they traced the number to Michael Reed.

Shea also noted that the phone had an incoming call at 8:14 p.m. that lasted only a minute. Five missed calls from the same number rang on the phone during the next nine minutes -- four of them coming only a minute apart.

Alexia Barnes, who was visiting her brother that night, would tell police three men showed up at the Florence Apartments that night.

"Don't you hang up on my brother like that," one of the men said, pulling a gun and shooting at the ceiling.

Alexia Barnes slipped out of the apartment but heard more shots. Robert Reed, Michael's brother, later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, after telling his fiancee he fired the deadly shot.

Prosecutors charged Michael Reed as an accomplice, saying he was looking for cocaine, as the brothers were celebrating Robert Reed's marriage the next day. No cocaine was found in Barnes' apartment or on the Reeds.

Alexia Barnes also gave a description of a white Jeep the men used to drive away, when she called 911.

Officer Stephanie Neal, who had traced the cellphone to Reed, found the license tag was registered to Leslie Mayer. Neal visited Mayer, who said she'd sold the Jeep to a friend of her son's, Mike Reed.

The search led Neal and another officer to watch a house throughout the night in a subdivision west of Central and Maize Road, in the 11000 block of Rolling Hills. No one arrived or left all night, Neal said.

Minutes after officer Wayne Scholl showed up with another officer to take over, they saw six people leave the house. It was just after 7 a.m.

Scholl testified that he and the other officers got out of their patrol cars, and two men immediately put their hands in the air.

They identified themselves and Michael and Robert Reed.

The trial is expected to continue the rest of this week before Judge Jeff Syrios.