'I committed a tragedy': October slaying suspect admits to crime

2014-07-21T11:45:00Z 2014-07-22T13:58:22Z 'I committed a tragedy': October slaying suspect admits to crimeBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The man who shot 32-year-old Misael Santiago in a North Side driveway last October admitted to his crime on Monday in Yellowstone County District Court.

Mahpevana-Hane Lorne Bearcomesout, 35, pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide and felony criminal endangerment stemming from a separate felony case that occurred in May 2013. As part of the agreement, an additional felony charge, tampering with evidence, will be dropped.

Santiago was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the driveway of a home at 1128 N. 24th St. on Oct. 20.

The May incident, which Bearcomesout’s attorney Randi Hood described as a “fracas,” happened while trying to get people out of Bearcomesout’s home. During the incident, he left a loaded gun in the room where his children were present.

“I thought long and hard about this and that I committed a tragedy,” Bearcomesout said as Judge G. Todd Baugh made sure he understood the rights he was giving up by forgoing a trial. “I trust I’m doing the right thing today.”

Bearcomesout will remain in the county jail on a $500,000 bond, until he is sentenced in early October.

The charge of deliberate homicide carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. A weapons enhancement would add between two and 10 years to his sentence.

Bearcomesout’s arrest came after a man contacted police, saying that Bearcomesout wanted to turn himself in, court records say.

The man reported that Bearcomesout came to his home at about 4 a.m. and said that he had shot someone the night before.

Initially, Bearcomesout told investigators the shooting was in self-defense, but 10 days later pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A woman at the home where the victim was found told police that on the night of the shooting Santiago had gone outside to speak with a man who was pounding on the door.

Both she and her sister, identified as Santiago’s girlfriend, who rented the home, said they didn’t hear anything after Santiago left, court records say.

Santiago’s girlfriend told police that he had left the residence at about 3 a.m. with a black gun that had a stock and an extended magazine.

A neighbor told police that the sound of three gunshots woke her at about 2:30 a.m., according to investigators.

Bearcomesout told officers that he went to the house and confronted Santiago, shooting him with a .45-caliber Desert Eagle pistol several times because he thought the man was reaching for a weapon.

Bearcomesout went on to admit to police that he never saw Santiago with a weapon, court records say.

Investigators did not find any weapons on or near Santiago. A search warrant for Bearcomesout’s residence turned up a gun matching the description of the gun he reported Santiago had stolen.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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