A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to fatally shooting his girlfriend in front of their three children and was expected to be sentenced in September to 15 years in prison.

Samuel Oscar Montes pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for the use of a gun. He accepted a plea deal from prosecutors that dropped a charge of murder and three counts of child abuse and endangerment. Montes faced up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted of the original charges.

Prosecutors negotiated the plea deal because of issues with proving a murder case and because the victim’s family were OK with it, Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons said.

Montes and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Nicole Gutierrez, were having an argument the afternoon of Aug. 27, 2011, when they got into a struggle and the gun went off, Simmons said.

Gutierrez sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the head in front of their children — a 3-year-old boy, 1-year-old girl and a 1-month-old boy, Simmons said.

City News Service

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