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Press Release

Jury Convicts White Swan Man of Four Counts of First Degree Murder, along with Carjacking, Kidnapping a Minor, and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

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

Spokane, Washington – On March 9, 2022, a federal jury convicted James Cloud, 37, of White Swan, Washington, on four counts of First Degree Murder. The jury also returned guilty verdicts against James Cloud for Carjacking, two counts of Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, Kidnapping a Minor, Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, and three counts of Discharging a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. Sentencing is set for July 26, 2022, in Yakima, Washington, before United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. James Cloud, who is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, faces a potential life sentence.

The jury heard and considered more than a week of testimony and evidence in Spokane before returning guilty verdicts on the day after closing arguments. The evidence showed that on June 8, 2019, James Cloud was involved in multiple murders, and that after committing the murders, he approached a residence, held a person at gunpoint, carjacked a vehicle, and fled from the crime scenes.

Another enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, Donovan Cloud, 35, of Lyle, Washington, was also charged in some of the underlying conduct. Donovan Cloud pleaded guilty on the same day the jury rendered its verdicts in James Cloud’s case. Donovan Cloud pleaded guilty to Carjacking and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. He faces a range of approximately 22-27 years in custody under the advisory federal Sentencing Guidelines, and his sentencing hearing is also set for July 26, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref commended the efforts of the investigators and prosecutors who worked for years to bring justice to the victims of Cloud’s crimes. “In a safe and strong Eastern Washington, there is accountability for even the worst acts of inhumanity. After years of tireless investigation, hard-fought litigation, and detailed preparation, justice has finally been served for the victims of James Cloud and Donovan Cloud. The people of the Yakama Nation can rest easier tonight knowing that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud will no longer roam their streets and endanger them. I am grateful for the dedication and perseverance of the FBI, the ATF, the Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol, who collaborated with Assistant United States Attorneys Tom Hanlon and Rick Burson to see these cases through to just results.”

“No community should have to live in fear of the type of heinous acts perpetrated by James Cloud and Donovan Cloud,” said Donald Voiret, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “I want to express my gratitude to our investigators and the prosecutors on today’s guilty verdicts. Their work on behalf of victims and survivors shows that the FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while violence plagues our streets.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Tom Hanlon and Rick Burson, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated March 9, 2022

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 1:19-cr-02032-SMJ