Teens plead guilty in triple slayings, sentenced to life terms without parole

Sep 4, 2013 The Associated Press

CODY -- Two teenagers who gunned down three members of a family at a rural home in northern Wyoming early this year will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, a district judge ordered Tuesday.

Tanner B. Vanpelt and Stephen F. Hammer, both 19 and both from Cody, cried in court as they apologized for the killings.

Vanpelt and Hammer pleaded guilty to killing Ildiko Freitas, 40, and her parents, 70-year-old Janos Volgyesi and 69-year-old HIldegard Volgyesi.

Authorities said the teens killed the three at the Volgyesi home in the small community of Clark, just south of the Montana line in northwestern Wyoming, on March 2.

The teens had stolen guns from a Cody pawn shop in the days before the killing, authorities have said, and came to the house to take Frietas's Audi A4 car so they could flee the area.

Freitas knew Hammer from when his family had lived in the Clark area previously and had invited the pair into her home that morning.

Vanpelt shot Freitas, officials say. Hammer then drew a gun and shot Hildegard Volgyesi in the basement. Vanpelt then shot Janos Volgyesi in the garage.

Hammer and Vanpelt each pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder at Tuesday's hearing. Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric agreed to seek life sentences instead of the death penalty, with the agreement of law enforcement and Freitas's family.

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Tanner Van Pelt, left, and Stephen Hammer

Tanner Van Pelt, left, and Stephen Hammer

Tanner Van Pelt, left, and Stephen Hammer

Tanner Van Pelt, left, and Stephen Hammer

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