A court document filed Tuesday indicates Tanner B. Vanpelt and Stephen F. Hammer are expected to change their not guilty pleas and be sentenced in connection with the murders next week.
District Court Judge Steven Cranfill has scheduled Vanpelt for a sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, while Hammer’s sentencing is set to follow at 9:45 a.m.
The 19-year-olds stand charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder in connection with the March 2 killings of 40-year-old Ildiko Freitas, her 70-year-old mother, Hildegard Volgyesi, and her 69-year-old father, Janos Volgyesi.
Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric would not comment on what agreement will be presented to Cranfill, and attorneys for Hammer and Vanpelt did not return emails seeking comment. However, the fact that there is a deal and that sentencing will take place Tuesday means the death penalty has been taken off the table for both young men.
Any sentence up to, and including, life in prison without the possibility of parole remains an option.
Hammer knew Freitas from previously living in Clark. He and Vanpelt — looking to get out of town after stealing guns from a Cody pawn store days earlier — wanted to take Freitas’ Audi A4, police have said.
Charging documents based on statements the two defendants allegedly made after their arrests say that after arriving at Freitas’ home on the morning of March 2, Vanpelt began arguing with Freitas about taking the car. The argument culminated in Vanpelt pulling out a handgun stolen from the pawn store and shooting Freitas in the head.
Hammer then reportedly heard something downstairs, was surprised by Hildegard Volgyesi and shot her with another stolen handgun; Vanpelt then also shot Hildegard, charging documents allege.
As the two teens prepared to leave, Vanpelt allegedly ran into Janos Volgyesi in the garage and shot him in the back.
With the help of alert neighbors and citizens, law enforcement caught Hammer and Vanpelt hours after the murders. They’ve been held in Park County Jail without bond since their arrests.