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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Woman arrested in city's latest homicide

2-8-2011 Kansas:

A 20-year-old Topeka man died of a gunshot wound, one day short of his 21st birthday, and a 25-year-old woman was booked Monday into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with the capital city's second homicide of the year, Topeka police said.

Sgt. Steve Taylor said Prentiss Bearden Jr., who would have turned 21 on Tuesday, was shot at 2989 S.E. Highland Court, a duplex where Bearden lived in the Pine Ridge housing complex in east Topeka.

Taylor said Misty N. Cullens, 25, also living at the same address, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail just after 11:30 a.m. in connection with the incident, which was reported to police at 4:40 a.m. Monday.

Taylor said Cullens wasn't known to have a criminal history. Bearden, however, was a registered sex offender in Shawnee County since May 2009 for aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 and lewd fondling and touching, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's website.

Taylor declined to comment on the relationship between Cullens and Bearden. He said he doesn't expect any additional arrests to be made in the case which he said was domestic-related.

When officers were called to the residence, Taylor said several witnesses were inside the apartment. Police had said earlier Monday a total of five people were at the scene and were taken to police headquarters for questioning, including one adult male, two adult females and two juvenile females.

Taylor said Cullens was at the duplex when police arrived but declined to comment as to why there were several people at the scene.

"It was a gathering," he said. "I don't think they were there for a party."

Taylor said three search warrants were executed in connection to the incident — one for the crime scene, one for an unrelated address and one for a vehicle. Two vehicles were parked in front of the duplex where the shooting took place, a Chevrolet Lumina and a Buick. Taylor declined to say which vehicle was the subject of one of the search warrants.

The first homicide in 2011 occurred when Dennis Emery, 57, was stabbed to death early Jan. 4 at the St. Gregory Suites, 635 S.W. Harrison.

Police investigating the case said a 32-year-old Topeka woman was a "person of interest" in the case.

A day before he was killed, Emery pleaded no contest in Shawnee County District Court to misdemeanor domestic battery stemming from an Oct. 12 incident in which the victim was the 32-year-old woman who was questioned about the victim's death.

Following investigation of the Emery slaying, police said detectives had followed all major leads in the case and weren't looking for any other individuals who might have been involved.

No arrests were anticipated because it appeared "to be domestic in nature," a police spokeswoman said.

Police submitted the case to the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office, which hasn't ruled whether charges will be filed in Emery's death.

Topeka recorded 16 homicides in 2010. ..Source.. by Steve Fry and Angela Deines

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