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Juan Jose Romero

Juan Jose Romero turns back toward a detention officer after District Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced him to five years in prison in connection with a 2013 killing in Butte. Deputy County Attorney Samm Cox, lead prosecutor in the case, is in the far background at right.

Juan Jose Romero, who drove a getaway car and helped hide a gun used in a killing in Butte in 2013 but avoided a long prison sentence, is heading to prison now.

District Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced Romero to five years in prison on Thursday, revoking a previous suspended sentence because Romero violated probation terms.

Romero was arrested in Colorado in November 2016 and was returned to Butte-Silver Bow this past November, according to court and police records. He admitted violating his probation terms.

Romero initially received a 10-year sentence for helping hide evidence in the shooting of Mark Partelow in Butte in August 2013, but most of it was suspended after he completed corrections boot camp.

A jury found Jeffery Lackman, then 25, of Whitehall guilty of shooting Partelow, 46, in the face in an alleyway of Casey Street. Lackman claimed he only shot the Butte man in self-defense after being attacked, but he was convicted of deliberate homicide and sentenced to 90 years in prison.

Romero, then 29, of Deer Lodge, admitted to helping hide evidence in the shooting and driving the getaway car.

The suspected murder weapon, a 9mm handgun, was found near Elk Park in a plastic shopping bag. Officers picked up Romero and Lackman in Roundup two days after the shooting.

Romero ultimately pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, and after completing boot camp, he transferred his probation supervision to Arizona. He was later arrested in that state for allegedly having methamphetamine and a gun but was not charged.

Samm Cox, lead prosecutor for Butte-Silver Bow County, asked Krueger to impose prison time Thursday.

“Obviously the suspended in this case is something the defendant couldn’t follow,” Cox said.


Government and politics reporter

Reporter with emphasis on government and politics.

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