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CROWN POINT — A Merrillville man faces 23 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to reduced charges in the shooting deaths of two of his girlfriend's family members.

Robert Stewart, 37, was charged in December 2017 with two counts of murder — along with enhancements for using a gun during the crime — in the shooting deaths of Ryan Halbe, 27, and his mother, Candice Halbe, 55, in the 2400 block of West 61st Place.

Stewart pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and reckless homicide during a hearing before Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas, records show.

If Cappas accepts Stewart's plea agreement, he would sentence Stewart to 17 years on the voluntary manslaughter charge and six years on the reckless homicide charge, records show. The sentences would run consecutively.

Cappas scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 12.

In exchange for Stewart's pleas, the Lake County prosecutors office has agreed to dismiss the murder charges and firearm enhancements.

Stewart was living in the Halbes' basement with his child and his child's mother Dec. 26, 2017, when he got into an argument with Candice and Ryan Halbe.

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The child witnessed the shootings, court records say.

Stewart drew a handgun during the argument. When Halbe attempted to grab the gun, Stewart shot him twice. Candice Halbe approached, and Stewart shot her in the stomach, according to the plea agreement.

Ryan Halbe died in the home, and Candice Halbe died at a local hospital.

Stewart fled the home and was found by a police K-9 hiding in a shed in the 5700 block of Roosevelt Place. He allegedly told police he didn't remember much about the night, because he blacks out when he drinks alcohol.

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