Michael Leo Moreno

Michael Leo Moreno, seen here at a court appearance in June, was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison, with six of those years suspended.

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A Manhattan man was sentenced this week to 24 years in the Montana State Prison for hitting and killing a 76-year-old man last fall while drunk driving and then leaving the scene of the wreck.

Michael Leo Moreno was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with six of those years suspended, for vehicular homicide while under the influence and failure to stop at a crash scene, both felonies. He appeared with attorney Jennifer Dwyer in Gallatin County District Court on Wednesday before Judge John Brown.

Moreno pleaded guilty last month to hitting and killing Truman Emmelkamp with his car and leaving him on Stagecoach Trail Road.

Daniel Sifuentes, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced last month to seven years to the Montana Department of Corrections, with four suspended, for his role in the wreck.

In October, Moreno hit Emmelkamp with his car and did not stop. Emmelkamp died at the scene.

Police said in charging documents that Sifuentes and Moreno were in the car that hit Emmelkamp and later stashed the car at a storage unit before walking to Moreno’s home. The two also admitted making up a story about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up the incident.

Erin Murphy, prosecutor in the case, called Emmelkamp’s family members to testify during the sentencing. Emmelkamp’s wife, who was unable to attend prior hearings, was at the sentencing, but Murphy said she “didn’t feel like she had the strength to get on the stand.”

In requesting the lengthy prison term, Murphy stressed Moreno’s actions during and after the crash, and an investigation that found no indication that Moreno tried to stop before hitting Emmelkamp.

Murphy said Moreno threw away the windshield of his car, stashed the car at a storage unit and concocted a story to cover up the crime. Moreno made a lot of wrong decisions on the day of the incident, she said.

“I argued that he had a number of opportunities that he could have done the right thing,” Murphy said.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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