Michael Ray Aims Back Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on November 23, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, MICHAEL RAY AIMS BACK, a 27-year-old resident of Heart Butte, pled guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Sentencing has been set for March 8, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
During the evening of April 16, 2011, the victim and her sister-in-law drove around together in Browning. Around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., the two women picked up AIMS BACK, enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe, at a casino in Browning. After leaving the casino, the two women and AIMS BACK drove to the victim's sister-in-law's house where they changed clothes and got their children. They then dropped the children off at a friend's house in Browning.
The victim, her sister-in-law, and AIMS BACK bought a case of beer in cans and drove to Heart Butte. They drank the beer along the way and visited with a friend in Heart Butte. While driving back to Browning from Heart Butte, the victim and her sister-in-law got into an argument regarding what music to play in the car. The victim's recollection was that she sat in the front seat and AIMS BACK was behind her in the back seat and that he hit her with closed fists after this argument began. AIMS BACK recalled that the victim was driving.
When the two women and AIMS BACK returned to Browning they first stopped and bought more beer. The victim's sister-in-law then took everyone on a drive before stopping at a bar. At the bar, each person drank a shot of whiskey and a beer. According to AIMS BACK, he ordered himself a bottle of beer and they drank the beer at at the bar. On the way back to their friend's house, the victim and her sister-in-law began to argue again. The victim's sister-in-law was upset that the victim had tossed a can of beer into the front of the car which spilled on the dashboard.
The women got out of the car in the friend's driveway and continued to argue. The victim's sister-in-law pushed the victim once. AIMS BACK got out of the car and yelled at the victim then took the beer bottle and threw it over the top of the car at the victim. The bottle hit her in the face between her eyes and she immediately began bleeding. Meanwhile, the friend was inside the house and had seen the lights of the car outside, however everyone had remained outside for about ten minutes. The friend heard yelling that escalated and she called the police. She then opened the front door and saw the victim bleeding and crying hysterically. The victim was unable to recollect anything that happened after being struck by the bottle.
The victim was treated at the emergency room for a nasal bone fracture. Specifically, the victim sustained a nasal fracture with displacement to the left which extended into the left inferior frontal sinus. There was also buckling of the frontal sinus septum. It was recommended the victim see a specialist for fractures to her face. The doctor documented that the victim sustained serious bodily injury due to extreme physical pain from her injuries.
AIMS BACK was interviewed and stated the victim had been running her mouth at her sister-in-law which upset him. While he could not recall whether he took a beer bottle from the bar, AIMS BACK said he threw a bottle over the car at the victim. Evidence was collected, including the Budweiser beer bottle which was found in the friends's driveway. AIMS BACK faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.