The McPherson County Attorney's office charged 24-year-old Dustin T. Smith with premeditated first degree murder Tuesday in the death of 30-year-old Justin Milne.
Dustin T. Smith made his first appearance in McPherson County District Court Wednesday. District Court Judge Carl B. Anderson Jr. appointed David Harger to represent Smith. The 24-year-old McPherson male has been formerly charged with one count of premeditated first degree murder in the death of 30-year-old Justin Milne. McPherson County District Court Judge Carl B Anderson, Jr. set Smith’s bond at $400,000. The McPherson County Attorney does not anticipate filing murder charges on anyone other than Smith. Smith made his first appearance in McPherson County court Wednesday.
According to McPherson Police Chief Dennis Shaw, Milne was killed Sunday in the 500 block of N. Cherry.
Following a report from Milne’s family concerning his well-being Sunday afternoon, officials searched the area near Kanza and 220th in Marion County. According to Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft, Milne’s 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe was found, fully engulfed in flames. Hillsboro Fire Department responded and put out the fire. Milne was not at the scene but Smith was located and arrested in connection with the murder. Monday afternoon Milne’s body was found at a campsite in Marion County.
An autopsy completed Tuesday at the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds.
Shaw said officials believe Milne’s death was the result of a dispute between the suspect and the victim over money. It is believed that the victim owed the suspect money.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, both Smith and Milne have prior convictions for drug-related offenses. Milne was convicted of felony drug possession in 2003 and 2005 in Marion and Harvey counties. Smith was convicted of a misdemeanor drug possession charge in 2009 and of misdemeanor theft in McPherson County in 2010.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation was called to assist with the crime scene investigation in Marion and to assist with a search warrant of Smith’s house in McPherson.
The Kansas Highway Patrol and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks are helping with the investigation.
The McPherson County Attorney does not anticipate filing murder charges on anyone other than Smith. A preliminary hearing for the case has been set for July.