Onelio Almeida, 63, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty in the self-storage shooting death of his estranged wife, Juanita Almeida, 44. Almeida killed his wife on June 25 during an argument at his storage unit at Flag City Mini Storage in Findlay, Ohio. Though he admitted guilt, Almeida claimed the shooting was an accident during court proceedings on Wednesday, according to the source.
After the couple began to argue, Almeida picked up a loaded 9-millimeter handgun that was in the storage unit. He told the court the gun went off while he was trying to remove a bullet. He fired one shot into a washing machine inside the unit, after which his wife began running. He then reportedly shot her once in the back and once in the head, according to investigators.
Almeida said he hid the gun before going to police. It was recovered in Allen County, Ohio, officials said. Juanita Almeida’s body was found lying face down between storage units. “I did it, and I have to face the consequences,” Almeida said during proceedings. “That’s it.”
Almeida was charged with murder with a firearm specification, an unclassified felony, along with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. A charge of repeat violent offender was dismissed as part of plea negotiations, the source reported.
Almeida previously served 16 years in prison after his conviction for voluntary manslaughter in the 1987 death of his ex-girlfriend, Laura Schade, 19. That incident also involved a gun, according to the source. Almeida was released from prison in the Schade case in 2003 but was detained in county jail by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which tried to deport him to his native Cuba. Almeida filed a lawsuit in 2004 seeking his release. He married Juanita Almeida in October 2007.
Almeida told the court he became “institutionalized” during his previous incarceration and was ready to return to prison. Judge Reginald Routson imposed the sentence jointly recommended by the defense and prosecution. Almeida will be 83 before the Ohio Parole Board will review his case.