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Mar 5, 2013 8:59 PM by Drew Trafton- Q2 News

Affidavit reveals alleged motive in Clark triple homicide

CODY, WY.- Shortly before the two suspects from a Clark, Wyoming triple homicide stepped foot in a Cody courtroom Tuesday morning, the charges against them were revealed--along with an affidavit which points to an alleged motive.

Despite having an initial court appearance scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, charges against the suspects were not officially filed to the Park County Circuit Court until immediately prior to their appearances.

18-year-old Tanner Vanpelt and 19-year-old Stephen Hammer, both of Cody, face eleven felony charges apiece.

The charges include murder, murder while perpetrating a robbery, conspiracy with the other to commit a crime, and illegal use of a deadly weapon.

For a more detailed list of the charges, scroll to the bottom of this story.

Of the charges facing both suspects, eight carry the maximum punishment of a death sentence or life imprisonment.

When Judge Bruce Waters began the proceedings at precisely 9:00 a.m., the courtroom was packed with supporters of both the victims and suspects--with overflow standing in the doorway outside of the courtroom.

Waters quickly read the charges facing both men before appointing each with a public defender and setting a preliminary hearing date in Park County District Court for 9:00 a.m. on March 13th.

Neither Vanpelt nor Hammer were given the opportunity to post bond and it was determined the men would remain in the Park County Detention Center through their next court appearance.

Neither of the suspects strayed beyond using two syllables to respond to Waters' questions, with Vanpelt sticking to "yes, sir" and Hammer mostly responding with "yeah" and "yes" or "no".

Following their appearance, both men were whisked away by Park County Sheriff's deputies into a detention facility van that took off within seconds.

Likewise, the crowded courtroom quickly emptied as many inside left burdened with the same questions they've been asking each other since Saturday: Why?

An affidavit attached to the charging documents may provide answers.

According to a sworn statement provided for the affidavit by Lieutenant Dave Patterson of the Park County Sheriff's Office, the murders were a result of vehicle theft gone wrong.

Patterson says that after neighbors of 38 Big View Road called Park County dispatchers with a description of two young men, a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was able to pull over both men in separate vehicles and arrest them without incident (to learn more about neighbor involvement in the arrest, click on the story link below the list of charges).

Patterson then met up with the Highway Patrolman and began interviewing Hammer, who said he was sorry for shooting "that lady".

Patterson said Hammer also told him that both he and Vanpelt had stolen guns the week before from a Cody gun store.

Hammer then allegedly told Patterson he and Vanpelt were attempting to find a car they could use to flee to Denver in order to avoid unwanted attention from the police concerning the stolen guns.

The information provided in the affidavit never points to a relationship between Hammer or Vanpelt and the Freitas' family. However, Q2 has been informed by multiple sources that Vanpelt had a casual family connection to the Freitas'.

Hammer then allegedly told Patterson it was then the suspects made the decision to go to the Freitas' home at 38 Big View Road in Clark to obtain a vehicle.

Allegedly, it was shortly after arriving at the home when Vanpelt and 40-year-old Ildiko Freitas began arguing over Freitas' black Audi.

Patterson then says Hammer admitted that Vanpelt pulled out a gun and fatally shot Freitas.

Allegedly, Hammer then heard a noise coming from the home's basement to find the source-that's where he found Freitas' mother at the bottom of the stairs.

Patterson says Hammer then admitted to shooting 70-year-old Hildegard Volgyesi in the basement of the home.

It was during an interview with Vanpelt later on Saturday that Patterson says Vanpelt admitted to also shooting Volgyesi after passing Hammer in the stairwell.

Hammer allegedly then told Patterson that he and Vanpelt ran up the stairs and in to the home's garage, where Vanpelt found the keys to the Audi.

Hammer then allegedly got in the white Ford Taurus the two men had arrived in and heard another gunshot.

During an interview with Vanpelt, Patterson says the suspect admitted to shooting 69-year-old Janos Volgyesi when the man emerged from the home in to the garage.

It was unclear from the affidavit if Volgyesi and Vanpelt had a confrontation before the shooting took place.

According to the affidavit, following the third shooting, the two suspects then left the home separately in the Taurus and Freitas' Audi before hiding the guns they used in a nearby irrigation ditch.

Patterson says the men then led law enforcement to the ditch where the weapons were later recovered.

Patterson says the weapons were found to match the description of firearms stolen from the Cody gun store.

Patterson says following the recovery of the weapons, the men were taken to the Park County Detention Center in Cody.

The eleven charges currently facing Tanner Vanpelt are as
follows:

COUNT I: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County,
Wyoming, did purposely and with premeditated malic, kill a human being, namely: Ildiko Freitas...

COUNT II: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Ildiko Freitas...

COUNT III: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT IV: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT V: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT VI: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT VII: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Janos Volgyesi...

COUNT VIII: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Janos Volgyesi...

COUNT IX: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the course of committing a crime defined by...(Wyoming state code).., used a deadly weapon...

COUNT X: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did agree with (1) or more persons that they or one (1) or more of them would commit a crime...

COUNT XI: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the course of a crime defined by (Wyoming state code)... used a deadly weapon

The eleven charges currently facing Stephen Hammer are:

COUNT I: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Ildiko Freitas...

COUNT II: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Ildiko Freitas...

COUNT III: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT IV: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT V: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT VI: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Hildegard Volgyesi...

COUNT VII: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did purposely and with premeditated malice, kill a human being, namely: Janos Volgyesi...

COUNT VIII: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the perpetration of a robbery, kill a human being, namely: Janos Volgyesi...

COUNT IX: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did in the course of committing a crime defined by...(Wyoming state code).., used a deadly weapon...

COUNT X: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did agree with (1) or more persons that they or one (1) or more of them would commit a crime...

COUNT XI: On or about March 2, 2013, in Park County, Wyoming, did aid and abet in the commission of a felony, to wit: did in the course of a crime defined by (Wyoming state code)... used a deadly weapon
These charges do not include a charge of robbery or burglary for the theft of firearms from a Cody gun store alleged to have taken place prior to the murders in the affidavit.

Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric declined an opportunity to interview about the charges at this time.

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