Vaughn Thomas Shoulder Blade Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on June 4, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, VAUGHN THOMAS SHOULDER BLADE, a 40-year-old resident of Lame Deer, pled guilty to domestic assault by a habitual offender. Sentencing is set for September 11, 2009. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On November 19,2008, the victim, SHOULDER BLADE'S wife, reported to the Colstrip Police Department that she had been assaulted by SHOULDER BLADE the night before at their residence on the south side of Lame Deer. She stated that she had been hit with the buckle end of her husband's belt, hit with a closed fist, and knocked unconscious. She suffered numerous bruises and abrasions as a result of the assault.
When interviewed, SHOULDER BLADE admitted that he had assaulted his wife with his belt, and that he struck her four or five times.
SHOULDER BLADE has two prior tribal court convictions for domestic assault of this victim. SHOULDER BLADE and the victim lived together at the time of the assault and have children together.
SHOULDER BLADE faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Colstrip Police Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.