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Deal reached in Clark murders

Plea agreements mean death penalty will not be sought

Six months after the murder of three Clark residents, the two 19-year-old Cody men charged with the crimes are poised to accept plea agreements.

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.


  • posted by siggy

    September 03, 2013 8:15 am

    I can't believe that they made a deal, so they can live and may come out in 10 years, what kind of justice is this for my Family none, these two individuals get to read play in the prison yard watch TV pretty much a free ride at our expense. I just can't believe this prosecutor made a deal, if it would have been his family he would sought the death penalty.

  • posted by dorothea

    September 01, 2013 12:49 pm

    i hope there don;t get parole
    i was hoping there got Death penalty
    there don;t deserve to live
    the killed my familie in cold blood

  • posted by jwalker

    August 29, 2013 5:07 pm

    Really they gave them a plea deal what a sad story for the family still alive and sorry showing how the justice system forces the tax payers to pay for these two the rest of their lives. The D.A.'s office dropped the ball and gave them a deal, what a cock and bull story this is.

  • posted by Scott Hagy

    August 29, 2013 2:42 pm

    Why did they do a plea agreement ? They had them the boys confession every thing .No one wants them to ever be out one the street .I have no compassion for them why is my tax dollars being used to feed them .They need to be feed Very heinous crime the family looked as if they had there life to a point that all the hard work and schooling they did was going pay off nice home family there .Show them respect and do not give them a break and use my tax dollar to found it .

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