News and Press Releases

Byron B. Yellowbear Jr. Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 18, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, BYRON B. YELLOWBEAR JR., a 29-year-old resident of Crow Agency and Wyoming, appeared for sentencing. YELLOWBEAR was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 180 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

YELLOWBEAR was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to aggravated sexual abuse.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

YELLOWBEAR was released from the Crow Tribal Jail during the afternoon of October 12, 2005, after being detained for a domestic violence charge involving this same victim. YELLOWBEAR walked to the home of the victim in Crow Agency and walked in the front door. YELLOWBEAR and the victim, who share two young children ages 1 and 2, were estranged at the time. The victim, who was at home with her two young children, heard someone walk into her home and then saw YELLOWBEAR.

YELLOWBEAR and the victim began arguing almost immediately. YELLOWBEAR then slapped the victim, pushed her, and threw objects around the living room. The victim, concerned because of past violent behavior on the part of YELLOWBEAR, tried to calm him down by apologizing and telling him that she loved him. YELLOWBEAR forced the victim into a bedroom, but she was able to get her children into the room and lock the door with a chain lock. YELLOWBEAR pushed against the door until the chain broke.

YELLOWBEAR pushed the victim onto the bed, called her names, and told her that he would finish her off. Although the victim told YELLOWBEAR no, he laid down on top of her, forced himself between her legs, and engaged in intercourse with the victim. During intercourse, the victim continued to fight and yell.

YELLOWBEAR then walked out of the bedroom. The victim followed and grabbed the phone to call the police. YELLOWBEAR took the phone, broke the phone, and then pushed and slapped the victim. YELLOWBEAR eventually left the house.

The victim was examined by medical personnel and a sexual assault examination was performed. DNA extracted from swabs taken from the victim's vaginal area matched DNA extracted from a blood sample taken from YELLOWBEAR.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that YELLOWBEAR will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, YELLOWBEAR does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.



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