A New Mexico man is scheduled to plead guilty to manslaughter and firearms charges for shooting two men — killing one — who were riding horses in 2018 in Kyle.
Palani Bull Bear, 21, is expected to plead guilty at 10 a.m. on Friday at the federal court in Rapid City to voluntary manslaughter and firing a gun during a crime of violence for killing 19-year-old Bryce Red Owl and firing at Tolin Gregg, court records show.
Bull Bear, who was 19 at the time of the killing, faces a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison for the manslaughter charge. The firearm charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life.
Bull Bear was originally indicted on charges of second-degree murder, the firearms charge, assault with intent to commit murder, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
What follows is detailed in the factual basis document signed by Bull Bear:
Bull Bear was living in Albuquerque but had recently returned to his home town of Kyle to attend his family’s annual cultural ceremonies when he came across Red Owl and Gregg on the evening of June 27, 2018.
He approached Red Owl and Gregg who were riding horses near Lil’ Angel’s, a gas station and convenience store in Kyle and the group soon began arguing. Bull Bear then pulled out his gun, a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol, and fired two rounds into the air.
Red Owl and Gregg began to chase Bull Bear, who ran behind homes in the Kyle housing area, and Red Owl tried to grab Bull Bear’s shirt while riding his horse.
Bull Bear then shot twice at Red Owl “during this sudden quarrel and heat of passion,” the document says.
Red Owl slumped forward, fell off his horse and later died. Bull Bear then fired two shots at Gregg but instead hit his horse.
An autopsy found that Red Owl was shot at his wrist but the bullet entered his chest, cutting through his left lung before striking his heart and settling in his right lung. The second bullet entered his upper back left, hitting subcutaneous and muscle tissue.
Red Owl’s mother, Dorothy Nelson, told the Journal at the time that her son was an experienced horseback rider who minded his own business. He had a girlfriend and eight-month-old son and was working on completing his high school diploma.
Nelson said Gregg arrived at her home around 11 p.m. that night on a wounded horse to tell her that he and Red Owl had been shot at. Her son’s horse — covered in blood — arrived at her home as she was calling 911.
— Contact Arielle Zionts at email@example.com.
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