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Press Release

Kamiah Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder

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

COEUR D'ALENE - A Kamiah man pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

According to court records, on October 30, 2020, Travis Dewayne Ellenwood, 44, of Kamiah, went out to a local bar in Kamiah with the victim, Bessie Blackeagle. During the early morning hours of October 31, they returned home to their residence where an argument ensued. During the argument, Ellenwood repeatedly struck Blackeagle and at one point strangled her until she could not breath. Though it is unknown the exact time that Blackeagle was beaten and strangled, Ellenwood eventually called 911 at approximately 5:30 p.m. and reported that Blackeagle was not breathing. Law enforcement and medical personnel responded to their residence and found Blackeagle was dead.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale took Ellenwood’s plea and set the case for sentencing in front of Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at a future date. Ellenwood faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and credited the cooperative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nez Perce Tribal Police, and Idaho County Sheriff's Office, which led to charges.

“My thoughts today are with Ms. Blackeagle’s loved ones who have lost forever a family member and a friend,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. “This office and our partners at the FBI, Nez Perce Tribal Police, and Idaho County Sheriff's Office will steadfastly pursue justice on behalf of victims of domestic violence and their families."

Mr. Gonzalez also encourages those experiencing domestic violence or those who know of someone in need of help to reach out, “everyone deserves a relationship free from domestic violence,” he added. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to the free and confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE, texting “START” to 88788, or visiting their website at



Public Information Officer
(208) 334-1211

Updated October 4, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime