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Two face criminal charges in fatal shootings in southwest Wichita

By Amy Renee Leiker

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) Two men are facing criminal charges related to a feud that left a man and a woman dead from gunfire late last month outside a southwest Wichita apartment complex, but as of Friday, no one has been charged with murder or another homicide offense in the case.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Friday that law enforcement officers were still working to wrap up and present their investigation to his office in the May 27 shooting deaths of 24-year-old Cayli Phillips and 50-year-old Eddie Centeno-Martinez, the critical injury shooting of Centeno-Martinez's cousin and the stabbing of the 27-year-old suspected shooter.

Last week, one man arrested in connection with the feud, 27-year-old Deshazar D. Barber, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a firearm, including one allegation that he had a gun in his possession on the day Phillips and Centeno-Martinez died.

The other man charged, 39-year-old Jose Martinez-Otero, is facing one count of aggravated assault of Barber and one count of criminal threat involving a woman, according to a criminal complaint filed in Sedgwick County District Court. Both offenses allegedly occurred on May 27, records show.

The weapon listed in the aggravated assault count is a knife.

"We'll make the final determination whether or not ... any additional charges are going be filed on that case" after police present their investigation to the district attorney's office, Bennett said Friday. He said he expected a meeting within 10 days.

"The final decision has not been made yet," he said.

Wichita police said last month that a 27-year-old man who frequented WindRidge Apartments, near Meridian and 31st Street South, pulled a gun and fired it; bullets struck three residents, including Phillips and Centeno-Martinez, during an ongoing argument that spilled into the street about 10:30 p.m. May 27.

The shooter, Wichita police have said, suffered at least one stab wound to the chest in the altercation and was hospitalized after arriving at Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph in a private vehicle not long after the feud escalated.

Centeno-Martinez's cousin also was hospitalized that night for treatment of a gunshot wound, police have said.

Both were under guard while receiving care at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis. Neither man's name has been released by police.

Police have said the argument that culminated in the shootings apparently was among three residents of the apartment complex. The 27-year-old was an acquaintance of at least one of the residents.

Phillips was shot and killed "in the middle of the street" in the 2500 block of West Wildwood, police have said. Centeno-Martinez was pronounced dead after he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Barber, the 27-year-old charged with criminal possession of a firearm in connection with the case, is due back in court for a preliminary hearing June 25.

At his first appearance in court Wednesday on the two felony counts, he said he did not understand why he was facing two charges.

District Judge Joe Kisner suggested the counts may have arisen from two weapons possessed on one date and said he had not yet seen all the paperwork outlining Barber's charges.

"There was only one," Barber replied.

After reading through the criminal complaint, Kisner then explained that the charges were not because there were two weapons involved on a single date but because the crimes alleged occurred on two dates: May 18 and May 27.

Later Barber asked whether his bond could be reduced after Kisner set it at $100,000. He was booked Tuesday and remains in custody, an online roster of inmates shows.

"That's too much for me to get out," Barber said at his first appearance hearing.

Kisner refused to lower the amount that day and told him to speak with his attorney to discuss the possibility of a bond reduction.

Barber will be represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

Barber previously was charged in Sedgwick County District Court with criminal possession of a firearm in 2005 and with possession of opiates in 2009, records show; he also faced misdemeanor theft and felony burglary charges as a minor.

On a financial affidavit filed in the criminal possession of a firearm case, Barber wrote that he has been unemployed for 20 months. He wrote that he was married and that his wife worked.

Martinez-Otero, who is facing the aggravated assault and criminal threat charges, wrote on the financial affidavit filed in his case that he worked temporary jobs and was formerly employed at a local construction company.

His bond also was set at $100,000 when he made his first appearance in Sedgwick County District Court on June 6. He was ordered back to court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, although it may be continued.

Martinez-Otero also remains in custody at Sedgwick County Jail. He, too, will receive legal counsel from a court-appointed attorney.

(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle