Michael Leo Moreno pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while under the influence and failure to stop or remain at a crash scene, both felonies, in the death of Truman Emmelkamp. He appeared with attorney Jennifer Dwyer in Gallatin County District Court before Judge John Brown.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop a felony charge of tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor charge of providing false reports to authorities. The agreement stipulates that prosecutors and Dwyer are allowed to make any recommendations at Moreno’s sentencing on July 15. He could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison.
Daniel Sifuentes, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced earlier this week to seven years to the Montana Department of Corrections, with four suspended, for his role in the wreck.
In October, Moreno hit Emmelkamp with his car and left Emmelkamp on Stagecoach Trail Road, according to charging documents. Emmelkamp died at the scene.
Police said in charging documents that Sifuentes and Moreno admitted they were in the car that hit Emmelkamp and later stashed the car at a storage unit before walking to Moreno’s home. The two also admitted making up a story about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up the incident, court documents say.
In court on Friday, Moreno admitted hitting Emmelkamp with his car while he was drunk driving and leaving Emmelkamp’s body on the side of the road. He has remained in the county jail since his arrest.