CODY — Two teenagers charged in the shooting deaths of a woman and her parents near the Wyoming-Montana border have pleaded not guilty.
Stephen Hammer and Tanner Vanpelt, both 19 years old, appeared before District Judge Steven Cranfill in Cody on Wednesday. Defense lawyers entered the pleas for each defendant, the Powell Tribune reported.
Prosecutors allege the teens shot and killed Ildiko Freitas, 40, and her parents — Janos Volgyesi, 60, and Hildegard Volgyesi, 70 — at a residence in the small community of Clark on March 2. The teens face 11 felony counts each, including murder charges that could carry the death penalty. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Security in the courtroom Wednesday was heavy. Both defendants were shackled and dressed in clothing provided by the jail.
Police say the deaths occurred when the teenagers tried to take Freitas' Audi SUV to drive to Denver to sell stolen handguns. Freitas was a friend of Hammer's family. Police say the teenagers shot and killed Freitas and her parents after Freitas resisted giving them her vehicle.
Both Hammer and Vanpelt are being represented by public defenders. Hammer was represented Wednesday by David Serelson and Erin Wardell, and Vanpelt by Nick Beduhn and Kerri Johnson.