James Rees Eder 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 Great Falls on September 15, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, JAMES REES EDER, a resident of Poplar, pled guilty to burglary. Sentencing is set for December 14, 2009. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
EDER is an enrolled member of the Sioux Indian Tribe and resides on the Fork Peck Indian Reservation.
On December 3, 2005, officers from the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office responded to a home near Poplar, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, to investigate the report of a burglary.
Upon arrival, the officers discovered that firearms and other property had been stolen and vandalized. The acts of vandalism included gun shots to locks on a door and a gun safe, and slashed tires and a broken window on a car. The officers recovered several .270 Winchester cartridge casings from the scene.
One of the deputies later learned that an associate of EDER'S had pawned a rifle at a sporting goods store in Poplar. The deputy executed a search warrant and seized a Remington .270-caliber rifle, model 710. Analysis by the Montana State Crime Lab indicated that the cartridge casings recovered at the scene of the December 3, 2005 burglary had been fired by the seized Remington rifle.
Both EDER and the other individual were interviewed about the burglary. The other individual stated that the burglary was EDER'S idea, but admitted breaking into the house and stealing the missing property. The individual also stated that EDER used his .270 rifle to shoot the locks in the house.
EDER claimed that he could not remember the burglary. He said he did remember the other individual suggesting that they break into a house while the two were drinking, but that he blacked out before entering the house. He woke up later at his house with two handguns on the floor that did not belong to him.
The victim of the burglary reported that two handguns were stolen - a Desert Eagle .44 magnum and a .357 revolver. EDER said he asked the other individual what happened and he told him that they burglarized a house.
EDER faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Fort Peck Tribes Criminal Investigation Division and the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.