Vince Lee Whiteman Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that on May 21, 2013, in Billings, after a federal district court trial before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, VINCE LEE WHITEMAN, a 23-year-old resident of Lame Deer and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon and aiding and abetting assault with a dangerous weapon. A sentencing date will be scheduled at a later time. He is currently detained.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
On the evening of July 29, 2011, the victim was with his nephew and they were drinking together. At some point they met up with WHITEMAN and then, later, met up with Zachary Knows His Gun. All four drove to Soldier Gulch Road where they parked the car and continued to drink. The victim and Knows His Gun were in the back seat of the car. WHITEMAN had a knife with him.
An argument about who was tougher led Knows His Gun to ask WHITEMAN for his knife. WHITEMAN gave him his knife. Knows His Gun then stabbed the victim in the neck. The victim fought back, which resulted in WHITEMAN joining the fight and, according to the victim and Knows His Gun, also stabbing the victim in the neck. The victim got out of the car and was able to run away. The victim identified both Knows His Gun and WHITEMAN as the assailants.
After hiding in the hills for a period of time, the victim went to a house for help.
WHITEMAN was interviewed and admitted that he gave Knows His Gun his knife, but claimed that he did not know why Knows His Gun wanted the knife. He denied stabbing or assaulting the victim and, in fact, claimed that he pulled Knows His Gun away from the victim and tried to help the victim.
Knows His Gun, the nephew, and another witness were interviewed and described the knife that WHITEMAN was carrying the day of the assault. Knows His Gun and the other witness provided law enforcement with drawings of the knife during the investigation.
WHITEMAN was arrested on tribal charges and his pants, which appeared to have blood on them, were seized. DNA analysis confirmed that the major contributor of the DNA extracted from the blood stain on WHITEMAN's pants was the victim's.
Knows His Gun pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and is serving a 37-month federal sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan P. McCarthy and Legal Intern Amanda Tiernan prosecuted the case for the United States.
WHITEMAN faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release on each count.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.