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A Colorado man accused of fatally shooting a female acquaintance on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation last September is set to plead guilty next month.

Orlando Guadalupe Jose Ephron Villanueva de Macias, 37, would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 34-year-old Annie Colhoff. The federal crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors have agreed to ask for no more than five years as part of Villanueva’s plea deal with the government.

Villanueva admitted shooting Colhoff on Sept. 29 after they got into an argument at her home in Pine Ridge, according to a statement that accompanied the plea deal.

“Both the defendant and Colhoff were armed with weapons,” the two-page statement reads. “The defendant walked out of Colhoff’s residence and Colhoff, still armed with a knife, followed him continuing to quarrel. The defendant shot Colhoff four times with a handgun and fled the area.”

Colhoff, also known as Chunta Suta Wi Colhoff, died from her gunshot wounds. The statement didn’t say what she and Villanueva argued about.

Details about Colhoff’s killing first emerged in April when a Pine Ridge woman, who said she witnessed the shooting, pleaded guilty to concealing information regarding the incident from authorities.

Tyler Schae Brewer, 26, pointed to Villanueva as the shooter. Brewer said she, Villanueva and another Pine Ridge woman drove to Colhoff's residence, where Colhoff had allowed Villanueva to temporarily stay. The shooting happened around 8 p.m., Brewer said, and afterwards the three of them fled to Rapid City.

There, they met up with Myles Tuttle and Tiffanee Garnier, both of whom would later be charged in the shooting death of Vincent Brewer III at a Pine Ridge youth center in October. Tuttle then drove Villanueva, Brewer and Garnier to Denver. Federal authorities have said there may be links to the two killings, which occurred about two weeks apart. 

Villanueva, also known as Chris, was originally charged with second-degree murder and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. He was charged also with possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, being someone convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison.

These charges will be dismissed in accordance with his plea agreement. Second-degree murder, his most serious charge, had exposed him to a potential life sentence.

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His lawyer, Ellery Grey, declined to divulge the factors that influenced prosecutors’ agreeing to cap their prison recommendation at five years. Grey said the reasons will become clear during Villanueva's sentencing hearing. It will be scheduled after his expected plea-change hearing Oct. 6 at the Rapid City federal courthouse. He is detained at the Pennington County Jail. 

Villanueva and Brewer's other female companion, Stevie Ray Makes Good, was charged with making a false statement to authorities by saying she wasn't present at Colhoff's shooting. She earlier pleaded guilty to a drug offense under a plea deal.

Colhoff’s shooting happened while Villanueva was on supervised release on a federal drug charge, according to Villanueva’s order of detention after he was arrested in Colorado on Nov. 21.

The document says he has five felony convictions, including attempted second-degree assault and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. 

Contact Tiffany Tan at tiffany.tan@rapidcityjournal.com.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal