John Joseph Takes Horse 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 October 6, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JOHN JOSEPH TAKES HORSE, a 20-year-old resident of Lodge Grass, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Sentencing is set for January 7, 2010. He is currently detained.
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 February 20, 2009, right after midnight, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was contacted about a fatality accident near Lodge Grass on the Crow Indian Reservation. Montana Highway Patrol also responded to the scene. The deceased female victim, A.R., was lying on the ground by the car. The driver, TAKES HORSE, as well as the other two passengers had already fled the scene.
After interviewing TAKES HORSE and the surviving passengers, the investigators learned that all occupants of the car had been drinking. TAKES HORSE reached down to change the radio station and swerved, causing the crash. His blood alcohol four hours after the accident was .12.
A.R. died at the scene and one of the other passengers suffered neck and back fractures.
The Montana Highway Patrol concluded that alcohol and speed were the causes of the crash.
TAKES HORSE faces possible penalties of 8 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Montana Highway Patrol.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.