19-year-old arrested in Jan. 2 slaying of Modesto teenager

01/16/2013 10:05 AM

06/26/2013 2:31 PM

Sheriff's deputies arrested a suspect Wednesday in the shooting death of a teenager in west Modesto this month.

Richard Lionheart Teputepu, 19, was taken into custody after Stanislaus County deputies and members of the Modesto Police Department SWAT team served a search warrant at a house in the 900 block of Snead Drive, a quarter-mile southwest of John Thurman Field.

Officers bearing a search warrant arrived about 8:30 a.m. and ordered everyone out of the house. Several people, including children, emerged, sheriff's Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said. Teputepu didn't come out immediately, but eventually left the house and was arrested without incident.

The Jan. 2 shooting in the 900 block of Leon Avenue took the life of Marty Kent, 17. Deputies responded to a call in the early evening of shots fired at the home. When they arrived, they found the 17-year-old lying near the doorway. Bejaran said there had been a fight in front of the single-story home just before the shooting. He had no further details.

Bejaran said Teputepu is not the only suspect. He did not describe the role officers believe Teputepu played in the shooting.

Last week, Modesto police took David Hodge into custody after a search near Eisenhut Elementary School in northwest Modesto. Sheriff's detectives talked with Hodge and determined that he was a witness in the case.

At the time, Bejaran said investigators were looking for Ryan Joseph Melton, 28, and Demaris Hunter, 33, both of Modesto. It wasn't clear if detectives believed Melton and Hunter were suspects or witnesses.

On Wednesday, a memorial with flowers, stuffed animals and an Oakland A's cap had been erected at the house on Leon, which is less than a half-mile from where Teputepu was taken into custody.

Micah Savage, Marty Kent's sister, said she didn't recognize Teputepu's name.

'It's just really sad'

Upon learning his age, Savage said: "It's just really sad. He's 19 and my brother is 17. It's senseless."

After his death, she described her brother as a straight-A student, about to graduate from Elliott Alternative Education Center.

Savage said her family appreciates the efforts of authorities to close the case.

"They've continued to be diligent, and really done well with our family," she said. She said the family has received support from the community.

Savage and her family are planning a "Walk 4 Marty" to commemorate his life and others lost to violence. It's tentatively scheduled March 16, with the location to be determined.

The walk will be free and open to anyone.

"It's just something to honor victims, especially our brother," Savage said. "We want to show that this happens but we don't forget."

Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra contributed to this report.

Bee Online News Editor Brian Clark can be reached at bclark@modbee.com or (209) 578-2362.

Arrest made it West Modesto homicide

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