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Springfield, MO Teen Remembered Hours After Murder Charges are Filed

(Springfield, MO) -- Friends and family gathered to remember a slain Springfield teen on Thursday evening.  This, as two arrests are made in the murder case.
(Springfield, MO) -- Friends and family gathered to remember a slain Springfield teen on Thursday evening.  This, as two arrests are made in the murder case.
   
Friends and family members gathered at Doling's Northview Center on Thursday night for a memorial for 17-year-old Kody Ray. 
   
While KOLR/KSFX wasn't allowed inside for the service, those coming and going stopped to show off t-shirts, car markings and ball caps made in honor of the teen nicknamed "New York." 

Some talked of his organ donor legacy.  His death saved six other lives.

James C. Duke, III and Jordan Martin are charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in Ray's death.  Both are 18 and from Springfield.
   
Friends of the victim say Thursday's arrests offer some closure and make it easier to grieve.  They add the tragedy is bringing people together and has some teens making amends.

"I think it will get better, knowing that he got killed over drama; people will stop," says Nicole Wallace and Celeste Hixenbaugh, friends of Kody Ray.

That so-called drama teens are referring to is a series of fights.  Friends originally told KOLR/KSFX the shooting might have stemmed from a brawl at Hillcrest High School in late February and another at Battlefield Mall earlier this month.
   
Ray was then gunned down on his front porch on Sunday.  He was living with his father after moving to Springfield from New York last year in, what we're told was, an effort to avoid negative influences.

 Court documents allege Jordan Martin was going to "get" Kody. He thought there was a chance Ray would testify against him in an upcoming court case.
   
Martin reportedly drove Duke, a teen who didn't know Ray, but happened to have access to a gun, to the area of Chicago Street on Sunday.  Prosecutors say Martin stayed in the car while Duke confronted Ray.     
     
As the discussion between Ray and Duke wound down, Duke alleges he thought Ray had a gun, so Duke pulled a gun on Ray, shooting him several times before meeting Martin back at the car.  The two hid the gun at a house on Scott Street before parting ways.
   
Early on, friends told KOLR/KSFX they suspected Jordan Martin was involved.

"Jordan, he was always telling us, 'Bet I won't kill him'. I was like 'You're not gonna kill nobody.' He was like 'Bet, bet.' That's what he kept on saying. We've all heard it. All of our whole little group has heard it," Wallace and Hixenbaugh told KOLR/KSFX on Monday.

You may recall counselors were at Hillcrest earlier this week, even though students are on spring break.  Counselors will again be at school on Monday when students return.
   
Also, some added security staff for precaution, though officers say they don't anticipate any issues.

Martin is expected to be arraigned on Friday, March 26.  Duke's preliminary hearing has been set for Monday, May 10.  If convicted, both could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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