White Swan Man Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for First Degree Murder and Two Consecutive 10-Year Terms in Federal Prison for Discharging Firearms During Separate Crimes of Violence
Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that George Skylar Cloud, age 22, of White Swan, Washington, and an enrolled member of Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation, was sentenced after having been convicted after a four-day jury trial in January 2019 of one count of First Degree Murder and one count of Discharging a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and after having pleaded guilty on February 21, 2018, to one count of Discharging a Firearm During a Crime of Violence involving a separate incident. United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Cloud to a term of life imprisonment on the First Degree Murder count, and two consecutive 10-year terms of imprisonment on the Discharging a Firearm During a Crime of Violence counts.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in early to mid-March 2016, Cloud was a passenger in a Chrysler with multiple occupants. The owner of the Chrysler stopped to talk with an acquaintance near the Yakamart in Toppenish, Washington. Cloud decided to take the vehicle so he jumped into the front seat, displayed a firearm, and shot the car owner in her leg. The wounded victim got out and Cloud drove away in the stolen vehicle. Afraid of Cloud, the victim did not report the crime to law enforcement or seek medical treatment. However, members of the community later notified law enforcement that Cloud had bragged about shooting the car owner and stealing her car.
In late March 2016, Cloud and another individual mistakenly believed that Felina Metsker provided, or was going to provide, information to law enforcement about the incident so they decided to murder her. In late March 2016, Ms. Metsker was shot in the head in her residence. Cloud and another individual wrapped Ms. Metsker’s body in her bedding, dragged her across the floor of her residence, and placed her body in the stolen Chrysler. Cloud then transported Ms. Metsker’s body to a remote location within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation, and left her. Cloud returned to Ms. Metsker’s residence and requested some of his family members to assist him in trying to sanitize it. The stolen Chrysler was later abandoned in a rural area within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation.
On April 1, 2016, a citizen notified the Yakama Nation Police Department that blood had been observed in Ms. Metsker’s residence. Ms. Metsker had also been reported as a missing person. Detectives with the Yakama Nation Police Department responded to the residence, secured it and contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After obtaining a warrant to search Ms. Metsker’s residence, FBI investigators observed dried blood on the residence’s ceiling, wall and floor. Investigators also perceived what appeared to be dried fragments of a human brain on a wall behind a bed. The FBI agent in charge of the investigation believed that the murderer(s) wrapped the victim’s body in bedding and transported the body to another location. In May 2016, human remains, including a skull, were discovered in a rural area within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation. The human remains were decomposed and animals had disturbed the area. Over the next 21 months, law enforcement officers conducted an unrelenting and thorough investigation.
As the investigation progressed, the FBI learned that Cloud had carjacked a victim in early to mid-March 2016, and stole her Chrysler vehicle. A Yakama Nation police officer eventually discovered the stolen Chrysler and notified the FBI. During a search of the Chrysler’s trunk, investigators discovered traces of DNA. This, along with other evidence, that had been collected was submitted to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. A forensic scientist determined that Ms. Metsker was the source of blood found in the residence, and the human remains were Ms. Metsker. An FBI metallurgist discovered traces of low zinc brass and lead embedded in the remains of Ms. Metsker’s skull, which was consistent with a bullet wound. No DNA or latent fingerprint evidence linking Cloud to Ms. Metsker’s residence was recovered. Several local residents were unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement during the investigation. In December 2017, a witness came forward and provided information concerning the murder.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Bastian observed that although Cloud was only 22 years of age, he had a “remarkable history of incredible violence.” Furthermore, the Court observed that in murdering Ms. Metsker, Cloud stole a life from Ms. Metsker, he stole a mother from her children, and he stole a daughter from her mother.
Joseph H. Harrington said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington commends the officers with the Yakama Nation Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigated this case. Their seamless partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this matter. The sentences imposed send a clear message that anyone who commits a violent federal crime will be sentenced to a lengthy term of federal prison.”
Two of Cloud’s family members have entered pleas of guilty for their respective roles. On December 14 and 19, 2018, Kristen Ashlie Windy Cloud and Nicole Lee Sunny Cloud pled guilty to one count of Misprision of a Felony. On March 6, 2019, Judge Bastion sentenced Kristen Ashlie Windy Cloud to serve an 18-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 1- year term of court supervision upon release from federal prison. Nicole Lee Sunny Cloud’s sentencing date is pending.
This case was investigated by the Yakima Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Yakama Nation Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Tom Hanlon, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.