Dawn Villarreal muttered “This is ridiculous!” under her breath when she heard the prison sentence given to a man who took part in the fatal shooting of her ex-husband at a concrete company almost two years ago:
One hundred months on a voluntary manslaughter charge.
The homicide conviction is the second for 43-year-old Deon Nolan Hale – who also goes by Auriel Huntstwobears. The first was second-degree reckless murder for a 1997 killing in Douglas County.
Villarreal told the judge who sentenced Hale on Wednesday that she fears it won’t be his last.
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I feel the system has failed us.
Dawn Villarreal, former wife of slain concrete worker Efren Antonio Villarreal-Alvarado
“I feel the system has failed us,” she said through tears as she held a photo of the slain man, 43-year-old Efren Antonio Villarreal-Alvarado, with the couple’s young daughter.
“I promise that 100 months in jail will not prevent him from doing this again,” she said.
The 100-month term was the longest Judge Christopher Magana could give Hale for his crime, in part because of Hale’s prior criminal history. The other reason is that Kansas law puts limits on the length of sentence that can be imposed for a particular crime.
Efren Antonio Villarreal-Alvarado was shot in the chest early on Feb. 21, 2014, as he sat in his truck at Santana Concrete, 3665 W. McCormick, where he worked. He died later at a Wichita hospital.
“It is certainly appropriate that you receive the maximum sentence for this offense that is allowable,” Magana told Hale after handing down the punishment, adding that he hoped Hale chooses a crime-free path after he’s released from prison.
Hale’s defense attorney Richard Ney argued for an 89-month sentence, saying evidence showed another man convicted in connection with the case — Donnie Lalonde — was “the primary mover” in the killing. Lalonde received 24 years, 1 month in prison for his role in Villarreal-Alvarado’s death.
Villarreal-Alvarado was shot in the chest early on Feb. 21, 2014, as he sat in his truck at Santana Concrete, 3665 W. McCormick, where he worked. He died later at a Wichita hospital.
Authorities have said robbery motivated the shooting. Lalonde knew Villarreal-Alvarado’s former wife, according to statements made in court during other hearings.
Initially charged with first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated robbery, Hale pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter in October.
It is certainly appropriate that you receive the maximum sentence for this offense that is allowable.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Christopher Magana