News and Press Releases

Laval John Big Leggins Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on August 2, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, LAVAL JOHN BIG LEGGINS, a 24-year-old resident of Poplar, appeared for sentencing. BIG LEGGINS was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 63 months
  • Special Assessment: $200
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

BIG LEGGINS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury and obstruction of justice/witness tampering.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In the early evening hours of November 15, 2008, several people were drinking at the home of P.Y. in Poplar, on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Among those present were BIG LEGGINS and the victim. At some point during the evening, the two men got into an altercation. BIG LEGGINS took out his pocket knife and took several swings at the victim. BIG LEGGINS also swung the knife at C.Y., who sustained a minor knife wound injury. The victim, who was not armed with any weapon, sustained a three to four inch cut to his throat that narrowly missed severing his carotid artery.

The victim was taken to the Poplar Hospital. The attending physician indicated that even though the artery was not severed, there was substantial bleeding that could have easily lead to the victim's death if medical attention had been much delayed. The wound left a permanent scar and was life threatening.

BIG LEGGINS was interviewed and admitted pulling the knife and swinging it at the victim and another man at the party in response to physical assaults from the two men. Other witnesses at the party identified BIG LEGGINS as the instigator and the assailant.

Soon after, BIG LEGGINS gave a letter to P.Y. while P.Y. was in the Fort Peck Tribal Jail, in which he warned P.Y., and his brother C.Y., to keep quiet about the incident. In that letter, BIG LEGGINS writes:

Hey [P.Y.], Hey bro it's your boy Biggie Boy ... But for real homie you gots to help me out and let them know it was all self defense that I was doin 'cause hey homie I don't remember anything that went down but that I was get (sic) socked... Don't show this note off to nobody but you, after reading this note, toss this away Bro or burn it OK. Damn bro let [C.Y.] know I didn't meant to do that shit and that other dude 'cause hey bro that wasn't I meant to do... I hope you or [C.Y.] don't go against me and get me locked up. I ain't tryin' to do prison time, bro. C'mon dang help me out and let [C.Y.] know 2 by your own words. Don't show him this note or anyone else. Just tell [C.Y.] that it was self protection myself like any1 would do 'cause that's real.... Damn bro I don't wanna do this time shit and you already know how it is. Help me out , bro'....Cmon bro you gots to help me out with [C.Y.]... For real holmes, a homie can't go back and don't plan 2. Feel me? So ask them and just keep talkin' 2 them and ask them if they could help me out and don't show up 4 court or something....Biggie Boy"

This letter was found in P.Y.'s jeans pocket by his girlfriend and turned over to the FBI on March 18, 2009. She said she found the letter several weeks after the incident after P.Y. had been released from jail. P.Y. was in tribal jail on Domestic Assault charges on or around December 9, 2008.

A few months later, on April 24, 2009, while the investigation was still on-going, BIG LEGGINS and his brother confronted the victim in front of a grocery store in Poplar and told the victim not to show up in federal court or BIG LEGGINS would get 10 years in prison.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BIG LEGGINS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BIG LEGGINS 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 conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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