News and Press Releases

John Joseph Takes Horse Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Friday, January 15, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 14, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JOHN JOSEPH TAKES HORSE, a 20-year-old resident of Lodge Grass, appeared for sentencing. TAKES HORSE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 34 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $10,000
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

TAKES HORSE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter.

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.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that TAKES HORSE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, TAKES HORSE 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Montana Highway Patrol.



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