Crime & Courts

Co-defendant testifies in Reed murder trial

Jeremy Trout testified that he and Michael Reed were running down the stairs, away from the gunshot, the night Vincent Barnes died.

Trout told a jury Friday that Robert Reed had the gun and fired the shots that killed Barnes after a bachelor party in May 2009.

Although Robert Reed, the shooter, and Trout were able to reach plea agreements to lesser charges, prosecutors are asking a jury to find Michael Reed guilty of first-degree felony murder.

As the first week of Michael Reed's trial ended Friday, Trout testified that the three men had been out celebrating the night before Robert Reed's wedding. They'd gone to a bar, drinking heavily, Trout testified. Trout heard Michael Reed say he wanted to find cocaine for his younger brother.

Trout said Michael Reed called Barnes, claiming Barnes owed him money. Barnes hung up on him.

"He seemed upset," Trout testified.

But Robert Reed seemed more upset that his brother was being "punked," Trout said.

The men ended up at the Florence Apartments, near Central and West, and got into an argument with Barnes, Trout testified.

Trout said Robert Reed first fired a shot into the ceiling. A couple of minutes later, Trout said he grabbed Barnes while Michael Reed punched Barnes in the face. Barnes broke free and pushed Trout outside the apartment. But someone else dragged Barnes back inside.

People were gathering in the parking lot, Trout said.

"They had their phones out," Trout testified. "Robert had already fired a shot, and I believed that the cops were on their way.

"I said, 'Let's get out of here,' " Trout told the jury.

Trout said he and Michael Reed ran out. About halfway down the stairs they heard another shot, then Robert Reed followed them.

Both Trout and Robert Reed pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, avoiding life prison sentences.

"We're not innocent," Trout said. "We got in a fight, and a guy died. That's why I took my plea. I wanted to step up and be a man about it."

Michael Reed will face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

The trial is set to resume Monday before Sedgwick County District Judge Jeff Syrios.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle