A cellphone was the only item taken in a robbery in January that police said ended with the shooting death of Caleb Hallett, 18, and a bullet in the arm of the phone’s owner.
The phone was thrown out of a back passenger window, police were told, as five people fled a house on the 200 block of University Avenue that they had planned to rob , according to arrest records.
Hallett, who was shot multiple times, died a short time later at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Josh Baker was shot in his right arm.
Marquess L. Smith, 19, and Marique Q. Sturgis, 18, were arrested together Tuesday. Smith, whose arrest warrant was issued nearly two months earlier, is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, and one count each of assault and murder. He was arraigned Wednesday; the judge entered a not-guilty plea for him. Sturgis, who was 17 when the shooting occurred, was charged with contempt of court, murder, assault, wanton endangerment, criminal mischief and two counts of robbery, according to the jail’s website. No arraignment date has been posted.
Two juveniles had been arrested earlier. They explained to police how all five of them ended up near the house on University Avenue about 3 a.m. Jan. 9, according to Smith’s arrest citation.
A fifth suspect, Kenyon Hipps, 21, died in Dayton, Ohio, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound 10 days after the shooting.
One of the juveniles told police that he and Smith had been “organizing a robbery” of a house on the street, according to court records. He said he pointed out the house to Smith and agreed to split the loot with him.
Smith, Hipps and Sturgis put on masks in the car before getting out and walking behind the house, while the two juveniles stayed in the car, the juveniles told police.
The three returned to the car about 10 minutes later, with the guns and masks in their waistbands. They told the juveniles that Hallett and Baker walked out of the targeted house and got into Hallett’s car. Smith told the group that as they approached the car, Hallett said something that caused him to shoot into the car. Sturgis told the juveniles that he shot at Baker because Smith had fired his gun.
The juveniles told police that Sturgis threw Baker’s phone out the car window.
Minutes before the shooting, Hallett, whom one resident of the house called an “unofficial roommate” who hung out there almost every day, told his friends he was taking Baker home.
Noel Buckman, 17, told police that he looked out his bedroom window and saw Hallett stop in the gravel lot behind the house and start to head back toward the house.
Buckman called out from the window asking if the two were all right, he said. Hallett replied that he was fine. Other friends said Hallett got a glass of water for Baker, who had felt sick.
Buckman went back to watching TV.
“A minute later, I heard five shots,” he said.
Friends inside the house said they heard Baker screaming for help. Neighbors called for help, Buckman said. Paramedics arrived and tried to revive Hallett in the gravel lot.
“They kept doing CPR again and again and again,” Buckman said.
Hallett’s friends living in the house told the Herald-Leader that the apartment’s parking lot was dark at night, a window on the ground floor wasn’t secure, and the main entry door didn’t shut all the way.
Days after the shooting, maintenance crews were at the house adding motion lights and making repairs.