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Fort Collins man admits shooting fiancee in head, faces 5 to 12 years in prison

10:20 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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A Fort Collins man admitted to shooting his fiancee in the head when he accepted a plea deal Monday for five to 12 years in prison.

Raphael Ogaz-Montoya, 27, hesitated and took a break during the disposition hearing, spending an extra half hour with his lawyers before completing the process.

"It was unintentional; it was an accident," he told 8th District Judge Stephen Howard. "I just want to do what's best, your honor."

Had Howard accepted the plea, Ogaz-Montoya would have been arrested in court Monday. But Public Defender Ashley Lalezari arranged to have him receive but not accept the plea, so Ogaz-Montoya is able to be free until his Feb. 20 sentencing hearing.

Sarah Harris, the victim in the case who was hospitalized in critical condition October 2012 after taking a .45 caliber bullet to the head, approached the lectern after the plea. She asked Howard to lift the no-contact order.

"I'm here in support of Raphael, and I'll always be in support of him," she said, adding that she loves him.

Howard refused Harris' request, as he's done multiple times since the charges were filed more than a year ago. But he said he would consider changing the order after sentencing, as Harris had asked to be able to speak with and write letters to Ogaz-Montoya while he's in prison.

Larimer County Sheriff's Office investigators previously said Ogaz-Montoya was drunk the night of Oct. 22, 2012, when he loaded a Colt .45, disengaged the three safeties and pulled the trigger, hitting Harris as she sat on the couple's bed at a home on the 400 block of Park Place Drive. Harris was 24 at the time.

Ogaz-Montoya was initially charged with second- and third-degree assault. While Harris was recovering, her roller-derby teammates lobbied heavily – and successfully – to get the charges to reflect what they said was domestic violence, not just an accidental shooting.

Before taking the plea deal, Ogaz-Montoya had faced charges of first-degree assault of domestic violence with extreme indifference, third-degree assault and prohibited use of a weapon. He was set for trial in February before coming to an agreement with the Larimer County District Attorney's Office near a deadline they'd given him.

(Copyright © 2013 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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