A 38-year-old Columbia man who fatally shot his roommate during a drunken dispute last year pleaded guilty to murder and gun charges yesterday and could face as much as 25 years in prison.
Miguel Barreda Olvera, of the 5600 block of Stevens Forest Road, entered the guilty pleas to second-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime. The pleas were entered at a hearing in Howard County Circuit Court, seven months after the death of 28-year-old Rulu Albarez.
Although the murder charge carries a maximum 30-year penalty and the gun charge a maximum of 20 years in prison, lawyers for both sides said yesterday that they have agreed to seek a sentence for Olvera within state sentencing guidelines -- 15 to 25 years.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 16.
Olvera and Albarez, who was also known as "Carlos," were living in the Stevens Forest Road apartment with two other men Sept. 30 when Olvera said he was going to the store. Just after he walked out the door, his roommates heard banging, and Albarez opened the door to Olvera, Assistant State's Attorney Lara Weathersbee said. The two men began to argue over Olvera's girlfriend, according to charging documents, and Olvera pulled a gun.
Olvera fired one round, hitting Albarez in the chest, then took his suitcase and left the apartment, Weathersbee said.
Olvera's girlfriend, Shanna Pineda, persuaded Olvera, who had gone to North Carolina, to call detectives. Police in Wilmington, N.C., arrested Olvera.