Mandi Verde Dust Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 1, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, MANDI VERDE DUST, a 21-year-old resident of Crow Agency, appeared for sentencing. DUST was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 30 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Restitution: to be determined
- Supervised Release: 3 years
DUST was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to retaliation.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On February 13, 2009, on the Crow Indian Reservation, DUST burned the property (clothes and household items) of a 7-year-old sexual abuse victim and her family. DUST did this because the victim reported the abuse to law enforcement, and the abuser, who is related to DUST, was arrested by the Crow Tribe. DUST had been drinking when she found out about the arrest and became very angry. She then went to the house of the victim and took the property out to the front yard and set it on fire.
An FBI agent driving by the house saw the fire burning and an investigation led to DUST. When DUST was interviewed, she admitted that she had burned the property in retaliation for her relative being arrested and taken to jail.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that DUST will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, DUST 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 conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.