Fort Riley soldiers accused of separate Aggieville murders appear in court

Tremelle R. Montgomery (left) is accused of killing 21-year-old Joshua J. Wardi (right). (Facebook)

Christian Bright

The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.

Two Fort Riley soldiers charged in separate murder cases for Aggieville shootings appeared in court Tuesday via Zoom.

Magistrate Judge William Malcolm heard several notable cases Tuesday afternoon in Riley County District Court. In addition to the Aggieville murders, Malcolm also heard a case involving child rape. Judge Kendra Lewison also heard a case Tuesday involving child murder.

Aggieville murders

Tremelle Robert Montgomery, 19, of Fort Riley, faces one count of first-degree murder for the shooting death of fellow Fort Riley soldier Joshua Wardi, 21, on Feb. 5. He also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for Donovan Bastien, Jared Musgrave and Tyrece White.

Previously, the Mercury reported investigators said Wardi and Montgomery had been at the same bar in Aggieville on Feb. 5. They said the two men later had a verbal altercation while they were on Moro Street with separate groups of friends.

Three officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 12:32 a.m. and found Wardi with gunshot wounds; authorities said Wardi died on the scene. Officers chased Montgomery, and one officer fired two rounds at Montgomery during the chase, striking him in the leg and causing him to stop between Moro and Laramie streets.

Malcolm scheduled Montgomery for another status conference at 1 p.m. May 3. Montgomery remains confined in Riley County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

Joshua Leslie Cummings, 20, of Fort Riley, faces attempted first-degree murder, attempted murder in the second degree and aggravated battery charges for a shooting that happened last December inside Tate’s, 1109 Moro St.

The attempted first-degree murder charge is for shooting Reed Godinet, 24, a defensive end on the K-State football team last season; the attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery charges are for using a firearm on Hector Manuel Martinez, 24.

Riley County deputy attorney David Lowden said in a previous court hearing that Cummings fired five shots from a revolver inside the bar. Lowden said two bullets hit Godinet — one in the jaw and one in the abdomen. He said Cummings fired his gun at Martinez, who had tried to intervene, and hit Martinez in the head with his gun.

“This could’ve been a double murder,” Lowden said.

Multiple sources told The Mercury that Godinet and Cummings were engaged in a fight with each other on the dance floor immediately prior to the shooting. Neither prosecutors nor the individuals involved have commented on the motive for the shooting.

Cummings’ next appearance is at 1 p.m. June 24 for a preliminary hearing. Cummings remains confined in Riley County Jail on $1 million bond.

Child murder

Gage James Anderson, 22, Manhattan, is charged with 1st-degree murder and abuse of a child in the Dec. 1, 2020, death of his then-girlfriend’s two-year-old son, Cyrus Matthew Miller. Police arrested Anderson on Dec. 17, 2020.

The Mercury previously reported that Matthew Lockwood, an emergency room doctor who worked at Ascension Via Christi Hospital the night Cyrus came in with critical injuries, testified at an April 2021 preliminary hearing.

Lockwood said he noticed Cyrus was cold, not breathing enough to maintain life and had “many, many bruises” all over his body in various stages of healing. He said doctors and nurses immediately knew they would not be able to care for a child in Cyrus’ state. He said they tried to have him flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, but they couldn’t get him stabilized.

According to Lockwood, Anderson said Cyrus had gotten his pant leg caught on the night stand and hanged from it briefly. But Lockwood said that wouldn’t have put Cyrus in his condition.

Lockwood said he hadn’t seen the official autopsy report, but a Riley County police detective told him Cyrus had a liver laceration and small bowel contusions, and he died from hemorrhaging.

Lewison scheduled Anderson’s next appearance for 3:30 p.m. May 13.

Anderson remains confined on a $500,000 bond.

Child rape

Joshua Manuel Penabaz, 44, Manhattan, is charged with eight counts of rape, four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and seven counts of aggravated criminal sodomy.

Penabaz worked as a nurse at College Hill Early Learning Center. Penabaz’s arrest wasn’t associated with any of his previous employment.

Penabaz’s next court date is set at 1 p.m. April 26 for a status conference with Malcolm. He remains confined on a $1 million bond.


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