A Manhattan man now faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of two people at a west Manhattan residence last Friday.
The Riley County Attorney’s office announced the formal charges Wednesday against 19-year-old Montrell Vassar. The charges were upgraded from the initial second-degree murder charges announced by Riley County Police over the weekend. In addition, Vassar has also been charged with possession of stolen property.
The formal complaint, filed Wednesday in Riley County District Court, alleges Vassar acted with intent and premeditation in the killings of 19-year-old Skylar Havens and 23-year-old Javon Gray. It also alleges Vassar stole a handgun from another individual, which he then used in the killings.
Vassar made his first appearance Wednesday in front of Judge James Kepple via Zoom from jail. Vassar claims he acted in self-defense. Deputy Riley County Attorney Trinity Muth argues an autopsy has revealed both victims were shot in the back, which is why they upgraded the charges.
Judge Kepple appointed the public defender’s office to represent Vassar and doubled his bond to $1 million. The case has been assigned to Divison I Judge John Bosch. Vassar’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 24.