Skip to main content
Press Release

Colorado Man Sentenced to Two Consecutive Life Sentences on Murder Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Denver, Colorado, man convicted of First Degree Premeditated Murder, First Degree Felony Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Assault, Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on November 5, 2021, by Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Francisco Villanueva, age 43, previously convicted of murder in Colorado in the mid-1990s, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in federal prison and ordered to pay a $500 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Villanueva was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 22, 2017, and was convicted of the charges by a federal jury following a two-week long trial in September 2021. 

The conviction stems from the October 16, 2016, shooting death of Vincent Von Brewer III in front of the SuAnne Big Crow Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.  Villanueva, along with Adan Corona, shot Brewer 15 times with an assault rifle and a 9mm handgun as Brewer attempted to flee from the defendants.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations, and the Denver and Aurora, Colorado, Police Departments.  The investigation was also supported by numerous other state and federal law enforcement agencies. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Collins and Benjamin Patterson prosecuted the case.          

Villanueva was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated November 12, 2021

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime