Ronnie Flores Jr. of Pendleton has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Aaron Gregory Daniel Futter in January 2008. Flores, 26, will spend 17 1/2 years in a state prison for the crime.

Under Ballot Measure 11, Flores will not be eligible for parole or early release.

State prosecutors with the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office and Flores' defense attorney, Michael Breiling, negotiated the plea deal and sentence during a settlement conference Monday and Tuesday.

Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa said he decided about a month ago to resolve the case through the settlement process rather than go through a trial.

During the last few years, the district attorney's office increasingly has used negotiated settlements to resolve major cases. The process involves using a judge different from the one who would preside over pretrial hearings. Besides talking with prosecutors and defense attorneys, settlement judges include police and family members of the victims and defendants.

Gushwa said his office and the defense counsel asked Presiding Judge Garry Reynolds to bring in Circuit Judge Charles Luukinen of Polk County to attempt to settle the case.

"He's done it before, he's pretty good at it," Gushwa said.

Flores was facing a murder charge. Gushwa said he dropped the charge, which would have resulted in a 25-year sentence, and the sides agreed to the lessor charge of manslaughter. However, manslaughter is typically a 10 year sentence, Gushwa said, and Luukinen based the longer sentence on an agreement between both sides and because Flores fired two shots.

Pendleton police arrested Flores in the early morning of Jan. 26, 2008, following a shooting that happened moments before midnight at Futter's residence at 1417 N.W. Carden Ave.

Futter was shot in the abdomen. Doctors at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton first treated him, but then he was transferred to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane for a second surgery.

Police arrested Flores a few hours after the shooting. Futter died at the Spokane hospital after Flores' arrest.

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