News and Press Releases

Standing Rock Tribal Council Member Convicted by Federal Jury of Domestic Assault by Habitual Offender

June 6, 2012
Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a federal jury in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has found Kerby St. John guilty of Domestic Assault by an Habitual Offender. The jury’s guilty verdict is believed to be one of the first in the nation involving a new federal statute which punishes acts of domestic violence where an accused has two prior convictions of domestic violence in federal, state, or tribal court. The statute applies to violations within the United States’ territorial jurisdiction and includes Indian country.

St. John was indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2011. The conviction arose from an incident in July 2011 when St. John committed an act of domestic assault in the community of Kenel on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.

St. John is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council. He was previously convicted twice of domestic assault against an intimate partner in Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court.

"Our approach to addressing domestic violence in tribal communities is firm and uncompromising - we will use every tool at our disposal to stop it," US Attorney Johnson said. "Federal law punishes repeat domestic violence offenders, and this historic verdict reflects the enduring commitment of my office to hold these people accountable."

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Law Enforcement Division, Standing Rock Agency. Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson prosecuted the case.

St. John was released on bond pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for September 10, 2012.



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