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Press Release

Habitual Domestic Violence Offender Sentenced to 41 Months

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

Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Tyson Heath, age 41, of Wellpinit, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on March 14, 2017, to the crime of Domestic Assault by a Habitual Offender. Senior United States District Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen sentenced Heath to a 41-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Of note, Heath stands over 6’5” and weighs close to 250 pounds.

According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, in January, 2017, within the boundaries of the Spokane Tribe of Indians Reservation, Heath assaulted a domestic partner. The victim was discovered after the assault with a large amount of bruising and swelling around her right eye and orbital bone. In addition, the victim’s right cheek displayed red and purple bruising in what appeared to be the shape of four fingers, as if someone had slapped or backhanded her very hard. The victim also suffered a ruptured eardrum. This case involved yet another domestic violence assault – Heath’s third such offense -- making him a habitual offender.

At the time of this assault, Heath had previously been convicted of Fourth Degree Assault (Domestic Violence) and Second Degree Assault (Domestic Violence) in the Spokane County Superior Court in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Heath’s 2010 domestic violence assault conviction stemmed from an argument with his girlfriend. The argument became physical and Heath began throwing his girlfriend around, ultimately throwing her into a bedroom wall face first and then refusing to let her leave the apartment. Heath’s 2011 assault conviction also involved a domestic partner. Heath had gone to his ex-girlfriend’s place of employment, in violation of a restraining order. She told him to leave; he did not and ultimately hit her in the face with a rock. The victim was found in a pool of blood on the floor. Heath was sentenced to four months in jail for the 2010 offense and three months in jail for the 2011 offense.

At sentencing, today Heath indicated he wished to apologize to the victim of the most recent assault. Judge Nielsen told Heath that when he drank alcohol he was a danger to the public and that society will not and cannot tolerate it. Judge Nielson then announced the 41-month sentence.

Joseph H. Harrington stated, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is, and will continue to be, committed to prosecuting aggressively domestic violence crimes that occur in this District over which federal jurisdiction exists, including Indian Country. I commend the excellent work of the Spokane Tribal Police and the FBI. Domestic violence in Indian Country demands the attention of law enforcement, families, social service programs, and the community at large.”

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Spokane Tribal Police. The case was prosecuted by Alison L. Gregoire an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated July 25, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-CR-00010-WFN