Eric Travis Turnsplenty Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on February 3, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, ERIC TRAVIS TURNSPLENTY, a 33-year-old resident of Pryor, pled guilty to threatening a federal officer. Sentencing is set for May 5, 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 July 7, 2009, TURNSPLENTY barricaded himself in his parent's house in Pryor. Earlier, a BIA officer and a Crow tribal officer tried to arrest TURNSPLENTY. During the standoff that lasted about 5 hours, TURNSPLENTY repeatedly threatened to kill both officers. Also during the standoff, TURNSPLENTY called the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office and told them that he intended to shoot the officers if they attempted to enter his house - he specifically said he would "put a hole" in the officers if they entered or attempted to enter his house. He stated that he had guns in the house and he would use a gun if the officers attempted to enter. Eventually gas was used to smoke TURNSPLENTY out of the house and the standoff ended.
TURNSPLENTY was interviewed. He admitted that he threatened to "put a hole" in the officers if they attempted to enter his house. He admitted that he knew they were officers, and he specifically admitted that he knew they were BIA officers (only one is a BIA officer). He said that he threatened the officers because he did not want to go to jail.
TURNSPLENTY faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.