Julian Darryl James Simpson pleaded guilty Friday to the murder of Tony Jimenez Jr. of Pendleton. He will be sentenced for the crime Feb. 1 at the U.S. District Courthouse, Portland.
Simpson, 24, admitted guilt to second-degree murder for shooting and killing Jimenez on March 19, 2016, on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, according to court records in the federal case.
Simpson, defense attorney Benjamin T. Andersen and prosecutor John C. Brassell signed off on the deal, which packs a sentencing recommendation of 25 years in prison. Judge Michael W. Mosman accepted the terms.
The plea came four days before Simpson’s trial was set to begin.
Co-defendant Victor Joseph Contreras, 24, in July pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury, as well as possession and shooting a firearm in connection with the assault. He faces more than 10 years in prison, according to court documents.
His sentencing is Jan. 25, also at the federal courthouse in Portland. Judge Anna Brown is presiding over both sentencing hearings. Simpson remains in the Multnomah County Jail, Portland, and Contreras is in the Columbia County Jail, St. Helens.
Simpson and Contreras were attending a party at the home of Beau Welch on the reservation in 2016. Court documents show Welch decided to end the party, and Contreras objected. Jimenez stepped in to help Welch. During the confrontation outside the house, Simpson and Contreras opened fire. Welch took a bullet in his lower left leg, and Jimenez died in the driveway.
The case landed in federal court because Simpson and Welch are members of the Confederated Umatilla Tribes and the crimes took place on Indian lands.