An American man will be sentenced to spend at least 25 years in prison for shooting and killing a Kamloops woman more than two years ago.
Shawna Peltomaa-Belanger, 51, was shot twice in the head on Sept. 21, 2016. She was found dead by police in a Colorado home following a 911 call reporting someone “downstairs dead shot,” according to court documents.
Peltomaa-Belanger, also known as Shawna Naimoli, was born and raised in Kamloops, and was a longtime employee of Kelly O’Bryan’s restaurant. She moved to the United States after marrying an American man in the 1990s but was a regular visitor to Kamloops until her death.
Ronald Budler, 50, admitted to shooting Peltomaa-Belanger within an hour of her death, according to a police affidavit obtained by KTW.
The affidavit states Peltomaa-Belanger was found with two bullet holes in her right cheek and a rifle laying across her chest.
Budler, who lived in the home in which the shooting took place, later told police he shot Peltomaa-Belanger twice. He is alleged to have then laid the weapon on top of her to make the incident look like a suicide.
Peltomaa-Belanger, who was dating Budler’s brother, also lived in the home.
According to the affidavit, Budler also “made a statement which indicated he wanted to shoot other people but was scared after he shot the victim and Butler said he wanted to shoot himself but was scared.”
Budler was charged with first-degree murder but recently accepted a plea deal on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.
Weld County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wrenn told KTW the plea agreement stipulates a sentencing range between 25 to 35 years.
Peltomaa-Belanger’s sister, Sandra Belanger, will be in court for Budler’s sentencing and plans to read a statement.
“I was hoping he would have got the death penalty or, at least, life in prison,” she told KTW.
“My sister didn’t get a plea for her life.”
Budler’s one-day sentencing hearing is slated to take place on Feb. 8 in a Greeley, Colo., courtroom.