Deuntae Markham allegedly shot and killed Southwestern College student Gabriel Luna after Luna was accused of sexually assaulting a woman on campus, according to a witness statement detailed in a probable cause affidavit.
Luna, 32, died Dec. 18, 2019 after being shot at his apartment on the college campus. Markham was arrested in August 2020 in California and charged with second-degree murder in connection to the crime. He has been extradited back to Kansas.
Markham’s stepbrother, Earon Garcia, was one of the witnesses to the shooting and told investigators that Markham fired a single shot through the closed door to Luna’s apartment.
According to the affidavit, which was requested by the CourierTraveler and released Monday, Garcia told a Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent during an interview conducted July 1, 2020 that a person connected to his family, also a student at Southwestern College, had reported being sexually assaulted by Luna on campus.
When asked about the sexual assault allegation against Luna, Southwestern spokesperson Kaydee Riggs-Johnson referred all questions to the Winfield Police Department. WPD Capt. Chad Gordon referred questions to Cowley County Attorney Larry Schwartz.
Schwartz said Wednesday that his office had never received a report about the alleged incident involving Luna.
A phone call to Markham’s defense attorney, Stephen T. Ariagno, was not returned before deadline Thursday.
According to the affidavit, Garcia told the agent that he learned of the sexual assault on Dec. 17, the day before the shooting. Around 11:30 that night, Garcia went to Luna’s apartment to confront him about the allegation, the affidavit states.
“Garcia said that this information made him very angry because it appeared that the police and the school had not taken any action against Luna,” the affidavit states.
After telling Luna why he was there, Garcia said that Luna then grabbed a golf club and began chasing him. Garcia ran to a friend’s apartment nearby to get away from Luna, the affidavit states.
Garcia and his friend then went to Garcia’s residence in Winfield. Garcia contacted his family in Wichita to tell them about the encounter. A short time later, Markham and two of Garcia’s sisters arrived at the apartment in Winfield. The group — Garcia, Markham, Garcia’s friend and the two sisters — devised a plan to “beat him (Luna) up” enough to get him to confess to the sexual assault.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on Dec. 18, the group drove back to the Southwestern campus to confront Luna, Garcia said in the affidavit. Garcia said he was unaware that Markham was armed, although he’d known his stepbrother to carry a gun with him in the past. When they reached the apartment, Garcia told his sisters to stay in the vehicle while he, Markham and the friend went to confront Luna.
Garcia knocked on the door to Luna’s apartment. Luna opened the door briefly, but slammed it shut once he realized the three men were there to beat him up. Garcia said he and his friend began walking away, thinking the encounter was over, but he was startled by the sound of a gunshot. It took him a second to realize that Markham had fired a single shot into Luna’s closed and locked door, the affidavit states.
Once he realized what had happened, Garcia, Markham and the friend ran back to the vehicle and drove away from the apartment. A few blocks away from the house, Garcia and his friend got out of the vehicle and walked the rest of the way, while Markham and Garcia’s sisters left to return to Wichita.
According to the affidavit, Luna called 911 at 1:06 a.m. saying he had been shot in the chest. Winfield police arrived at 1:13 a.m. and found the apartment door closed and locked. After knocking and announcing their presence, officers forced the door open and found Luna laying on the floor and bleeding from the chest. Officers asked Luna who had shot him, but he was incoherent and unable to provide officers with a clear answer. He was transported to a hospital and later died from his injuries.
At the scene, officers found a single .45 caliber ACP shell casing outside the apartment door, and the .45 caliber bullet in the dorm room. The bullet appeared to have traveled through the door and struck Luna in the chest, where it exited through his back and struck the apartment wall, the affidavit states. A post-autopsy analysis concluded that the gunshot would was the cause of Luna’s death.
A preliminary hearing in the case, which is before Judge Nick St. Peter, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. May 18, according to court records.
A person’s guilt or innocence is to be determined by a court of law.