Sherron Grace American Horse Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 6, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, SHERRON GRACE AMERICAN HORSE, a 38-year-old resident of Ashland and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Sentencing has been set for June 5, 2013. She 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 June 22, 2012, law enforcement responded to a car crash on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation at approximately 1:00 p.m. The officers found one deceased passenger lying outside of the car. Several other passengers were also at the scene and suffered minor to severe injuries. All at the scene identified AMERICAN HORSE as the driver.
While taking photographs at the scene, the officers saw footprints leading away from the crash site and followed them. They found AMERICAN HORSE lying near the road. She appeared to be sleeping. The officers woke her up to determine if she needed medical attention. As she sat up, an unopened can of malt liquor was under her body. Her speech was slurred.
AMERICAN HORSE was taken by ambulance to the Lame Deer Clinic and later treated at the Billings Clinic. A blood alcohol sample was taken some hours after the crash and registered a .169.
AMERICAN HORSE was interviewed several days later. She admitted that she had been drinking and driving at the time of the crash. Through her admissions, the statements of the surviving passengers, and the investigation at the scene, law enforcement learned that AMERICAN HORSE was very drunk, lost control of the car, and rolled the car at least four times. She caused the death of one passenger and another passenger suffered a spinal injury that has resulted in partial paralysis.
AMERICAN HORSE faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release on the involuntary manslaughter charge and 8 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release on the assault resulting in serious bodily injury charge.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.