David Elmer Muskrat Sentenced in U.S. District Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on September 26, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, DAVID ELMER MUSKRAT, a 35-year-old resident of Poplar and an enrolled member of a federally-recognized tribe, was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 210 months
Special Assessment: $100
Supervised Release: 4 years
MUSKRAT was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to second degree murder.
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, the Fort Peck Criminal Investigators, the 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.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MUSKRAT will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MUSKRAT does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fort Peck Criminal Investigators, the Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice, the Poplar Police Department, and the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office.