Jerard David Jo Threefingers Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 15, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, JERARD DAVID JO THREEFINGERS, a 23-year-old resident of Lame Deer and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Sentencing has been set for September 9, 2013.
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 October 2, 2012, at approximately 12:30 p.m., law enforcement was advised of a one vehicle rollover crash on Crazy Head Springs Road near Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. The caller reported that one passenger was unconscious and another passenger was injured and needed medical help. Law enforcement arrived on the scene and found both a male and female lying on the ground. The female was deceased; the male was alive but injured. Law enforcement took photographs and collected evidence, including an empty Budweiser 30-pack container and 2 unopened cans of Budweiser.
After additional investigation, law enforcement learned that the vehicle, a Ford Explorer, was owned by the deceased female but they were unsure whether she had been driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. There were clear shoe impressions on the brake pedal and the driver's side door panel, but the deceased female was barefoot. Also, the driver's side seat was adjusted for someone much taller than the deceased female.
After some additional investigation, law enforcement learned that THREE FINGERS and another female had been in the car at the time of the crash but had walked away from the scene. Approximately two hours after the crash, THREE FINGERS was located by law enforcement and arrested on tribal charges of intoxication, DUI, and criminal homicide. THREE FINGERS was not interviewed until the next day because of his level of intoxication.
At first, THREE FINGERS identified the deceased female as the driver but, after further questioning, THREE FINGERS admitted that he was the driver. He admitted that he had been drinking prior to the crash and he explained that he hit a bump, lost control of the car, and caused the death of female and the injuries to the other passenger.
A toxicology screen of a blood sample taken from THREE FINGERS about three hours after the crash contained a blood alcohol content of .09.
The passenger that walked away from the scene with THREE FINGERS was interviewed and also admitted that THREE FINGERS was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
THREEFINGERS faces possible penalties of 8 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.