Man pleads guilty to charge linked to Kansas student’s death

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty in southeast Kansas to a charge linked to the 2014 shooting death of a 20-year-old Pittsburg State University student.

The (Pittsburg) Morning Sun reports that 25-year-old Juan Salas-Rueda entered the plea in Crawford County to one count of aggravated robbery.

Prosecutors dropped counts of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and obstruction.

The county’s top prosecutor, Michael Gayoso, says prosecutors don’t believe Salas-Rueda was directly involved with the slaying of Taylor Thomas, but that he provided the weapons used in the robbery.

Thomas was a 20-year-old junior at the school when killed in October 2014. Authorities allege the intruders were seeking drugs and money, with the drugs belonging to Thomas’ roommate, Joseph Otter.

Otter pleaded no contest Thursday and was found guilty of a marijuana-distribution charge.


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