United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Marques High Elk, age 31, of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, appeared before United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange on August 22, 2011, and pled guilty to an indictment that charged him with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both.
On April 16, 2011, High Elk and his ex-girlfriend drank until they were intoxicated and then went to High Elk's mother's residence in Eagle Butte. High Elk and his ex-girlfriend got into a verbal argument about her decision to break up with him. The argument became heated, and High Elk unlawfully assaulted her with an upright vacuum cleaner, striking her in the head. As a result of the assault, High Elk's ex-girlfriend suffered serious injuries, including a fractured thumb and several lacerations and contusions to her head.
The investigation was conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for November 15, 2011. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.