The first of four defendants accused of murdering a man in 2016 outside a Pine Ridge youth center is set to plead guilty — but not to murder.
Myles Tuttle is expected to plead guilty to accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of 29-year-old Vincent Brewer III outside the SuAnne Big Crow Center on Oct. 16, 2016, according to his plea deal.
Tuttle knew about Brewer's murder and helped the killers evade justice by swapping the license plate on one of the vehicles used in the crime and then dumping it in White Clay, Nebraska, according to the factual basis document he signed.
In exchange for pleading guilty to the accessory charge, federal prosecutors will drop Tuttle's three other charges — including two first-degree murder charges — according to the plea deal. Prosecutors will also ask the judge to sentence Tuttle to no more than 10 years in prison for a crime with a maximum 15-year sentence.
In addition to the accessory crime, Tuttle — along with Francisco Villanueva, Adan Corona and Estevan Baquera — was indicted on charges of premeditated first-degree murder, felony murder (for committing murder during a kidnapping), and conspiracy to commit assault. Villanueva and Corona are also charged with using a gun during a crime of violence and illegally owning ammunition as convicted felons, while Baquera is also charged with brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The defendants are accused of murdering Brewer after trying to kidnap him in order to collect an alleged drug debt, according to the indictment. Villanueva, Corona and Baquera allegedly drove from Colorado with "multiple firearms" to Rapid City where they met up with Tuttle. On Oct. 16, 2016, the group allegedly drove around Pine Ridge where they spoke with and picked up people to help them locate Brewer.
After finding Brewer in front of the youth center, the indictment says, some members of the group assaulted Brewer and tried to kidnap him by shoving him into one of their two vehicles. "Multiple shooters," including Villanueva and Corona, shot Brewer several times when he escaped from the vehicle.
Nearly three years after Brewer's killing, it appears that prosecutors are still investigating the case since they recently charged a new defendant.
Jason Baca was indicted May 21 with attempted witness tampering and arrested the next day in Colorado. He's accused of trying to intimidate Tiffanee Garnier from testifying about Brewer's murder between Sept. 1, 2018, and May 12, 2019.
Garnier was sentenced in March 2018 to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory to Brewer's murder. She admitted to driving to the youth center with Brewer’s attackers, witnessing people in masks shoot him, and escaping to Denver with the suspects. There were at least seven people in Garnier’s group, and she drove one of the two getaway vehicles.
Baca has not yet been scheduled for his initial appearance, while Tuttle has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for June 12 at 11:40 a.m.
— Contact Arielle Zionts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter
Get the latest in local public safety news with this weekly email.