News and Press Releases

Shawn Lee Jefferson Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on April 8, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, SHAWN LEE JEFFERSON, age 31, appeared for sentencing. JEFFERSON was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 42 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

JEFFERSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter.

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

During the early morning hours of December 28, 2007, law enforcement was contacted by an individual stating that JEFFERSON had just stabbed her husband. Bureau of Indian Affairs police and ambulance personnel responded and found the victim dead.

Earlier in the evening JEFFERSON, the victim, and their wives were celebrating one of the wives' birthday. All became intoxicated. They returned to the victim's home, located on the Crow Indian Reservation, where the victim and his wife started arguing. The wife grabbed a knife, which was taken away from her by one of the women there at the home babysitting the couples' children.

At this point, the victim and JEFFERSON started fighting in the living room. JEFFERSON entered the kitchen and took the knife, while the victim followed him. The two men resumed their fighting and JEFFERSON raised the knife and stabbed the victim in the chest. One of the witnesses heard the knife enter the victim's chest, knew that the victim was hurt badly, and tried to stop the fight.

The victim chased JEFFERSON out of the house and they began wrestling in a field. The victim had a light-weight aluminum snow shovel which JEFFERSON was able to take away. JEFFERSON ended up on top of the victim. As witnesses approached, one of them observed JEFFERSON stab the victim numerous times.

During an interview with agents, JEFFERSON stated he was defending his babies and said he accidently stabbed the victim after he "walked into the knife."

The autopsy examination revealed that the victim had been stabbed five times. The cause of death was stab wounds to the victim's chest and abdomen. Further investigation led to the recovery of the knife with blood on the blade.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that JEFFERSON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, JEFFERSON 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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