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Press Release

30 Year-Old Yakama Man Sentenced to 10 Years Imprisonment for Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Yakima, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that James Skahan-Lowe, age 30, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on November 1, 2022, to Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence. Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Skahan-Lowe to a 10-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to information in court documents and disclosed during court proceedings, Skahan-Lowe assaulted a male victim in Yakima, Washington on February 26, 2022. The victim had stopped on the side of the road to answer his cell phone. Skahan-Lowe saw the victim parked on the side of the road and confused him for someone else. Skahan-Lowe then parked behind the victim, got out of his car, and began arguing with the victim. Although the victim attempted to calm the situation down, Skahan-Lowe ultimately returned to his car and grabbed a rifle. Skahan-Lowe pointed the rifle at the victim and ordered him to get on the ground. The victim refused and attempted to run away. Skahan-Lowe chased the victim and then began hitting him with the rifle.

After assaulting the victim, Skahan-Lowe drove away from the area. Skahan-Lowe and another person returned to the crime scene a few minutes later. An unknown person then stole the victim’s car. Law enforcement arrived and provided the victim with medical treatment. The victim’s car was recovered a short time later. At the time, Skahan-Lowe was on pretrial release in a separate state criminal case, charging Skahan-Lowe with viciously assaulting another victim and fracturing that victim’s skull with a mallet.

On February 2, 2023, Skahan-Lowe appeared for his sentencing hearing for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The victim courageously spoke at the hearing and described how this violent crime has affected him and his family. Skahan-Lowe also made a statement at the sentencing hearing and apologized to the victim. Skahan-Lowe stated that he is a good person but was filled with rage during that time in his life. Chief Judge Stanley A. Bastian stated that he hoped that Skahan-Lowe was sincerely sorry for his actions. Chief Judge Bastian then advised that he has an obligation to protect the community and imposed a sentence of 120-months imprisonment to be followed by 5-years of court supervision.

U.S. Attorney Waldref commended the bravery of the victim in this case. She stated, “I commend the courage and bravery of the victim to come forward and speak about this horrific crime. My office has an amazing team of prosecutors as well as victim and witness advocates, who work closely and respectfully with victims to ensure their voices are heard and to seek justice. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who perpetrate violence within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation. Everyone deserves to feel safe. By removing dangerous individuals from society, our neighborhoods and communities will be safer and stronger.”

“Senseless is the only word describing the crime committed by the defendant” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Mr. Skahan-Lowe violently assaulted the victim after a case of mistaken identity. The FBI and our partners will continue working to reduce violent crime on our state’s reservations and hold those who commit those crimes accountable.”

As set forth in court documents and proceedings, Skahan-Lowe has an extensive criminal history. In 2010, he was convicted of Residential Burglary and Vehicle Prowling. In 2011, he was convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. In 2014, he was convicted of First-Degree Possession of Stolen Property and Second-Degree Burglary. In 2016, he was convicted of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. In 2017, he was convicted of Second-Degree Burglary. In 2018, he was convicted of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. He was later convicted of First-Degree Burglary, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and First-Degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

This case was investigated by the Yakama County Sheriff’s Office, the Yakama Nation Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Hanlon. 



Richard Barker 
Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-835-6311 or

Updated February 3, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses