David Elmer Muskrat Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on June 6, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, DAVID ELMER MUSKRAT, a 35-year-old resident of Poplar and an enrolled member of a federally-recognized tribe, pled guilty to second degree murder. Sentencing has been set for September 26, 2013. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura B. Weiss, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On September 1, 2012, MUSKRAT was driving around Poplar, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, looking for "X.X.", the now-deceased victim. Along the way, he expressed to more than one person his intent to kill X.X. if he found him. MUSKRAT was coming around a corner in Poplar and spotted X.X. walking down the street. MUSKRAT accelerated his SUV into X.X. and hit him with the vehicle. X.X. died. MUSKRAT fled the scene in the SUV.
This case is one of many examples of serious felonies the Montana U.S. Attorney's Office rigorously prosecutes in Indian Country every year. It is also a living example of the power of interagency collaboration. Five agencies devoted time, effort, and resources to this case, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Peck Criminal Investigators, Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice, the Poplar Police Department, and the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office, all of which resulted in justice being achieved for the victim in this case." U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter.
MUSKRAT faces possible penalties of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Peck Criminal Investigators, Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice, the Poplar Police Department, and the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office.