Lafayette woman sentenced for 2 deaths during robbery

An 18-year-old Lafayette woman has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the shooting deaths of a pizza delivery driver and her boyfriend, both killed during a botched robbery.

A Tippecanoe County judge ordered the sentence Friday for Jaelynn Billups after a jury convicted her in October on murder charges for the August 2020 deaths that happened when she was 17.

Billups was charged with ordering a pizza for delivery to an unoccupied home, where her boyfriend, 19-year-old Alberto Vanmeter, tried to rob delivery driver Joshua Ungersma. But authorities said Ungersma, 37, fatally shot Vanmeter in self-defense.

As Ungersma yelled for neighbors to call 911, Billups picked up Vanmeter’s gun, walked up behind Ungersma and killed him, authorities said. When police arrived, she concocted a story that Ungersma and Vanmeter killed each other in a gun fight over a misperception that Vanmeter was a robber.

Ungersma’s wife, Jenny, told the judge she considered Billups “a sick, vile being” and asked for the maximum sentence of more than 150 years.

Billups didn’t take responsibility for the killings in her statement before sentencing.

She blamed her killing of Ungersma on the delivery driver, saying, “That night, a lot of things could have gone different. Only one man can judge me, and that’s the man upstairs.”

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