News and Press Releases

Vaughn Thomas Shoulder Blade Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on September 11, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, VAUGHN THOMAS SHOULDER BLADE, a 40-year-old resident of Lame Deer, appeared for sentencing. SHOULDER BLADE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 14 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

SHOULDER BLADE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to domestic assault by a habitual offender.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek, 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, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. 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.

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

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Colstrip Police Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.



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