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Press Release

Red Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder

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

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Ponemah man pleaded guilty today to second degree murder after violently assaulting a woman on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

According to court documents, in 2019, William Jones, IV, 24, and the victim were involved in a romantic relationship and lived together at the victim’s house in Ponemah. During the evening of November 6, 2019, Jones repeatedly assaulted the victim in their residence, hitting her on the shoulders, arms, and torso, and throwing her against a wall. After the assault the victim fell to the floor and struck her head. Jones did not contact emergency personnel or attempt to render aid. The victim remained in the house unconscious for almost two days, where Jones chose not to contact emergency personnel or otherwise render any aid to the victim.

According to court documents, on November 8, 2019, Jones’s mother contacted emergency personnel after arriving at the house and observing the victim’s condition. The victim was transported to Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, where medical personnel determined that the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, which caused the victim to remain in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery. As a result of her injuries, the victim died on November 22, 2019.

“This defendant not only perpetrated an extremely violent assault on his victim, he showed complete disregard for human life when he failed to seek medical aid,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting those who commit horrific acts of domestic violence such as this, which disproportionately plague Native American women.”

Jones pleaded guilty to one count of second degree murder before U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan B. Gilead and Deidre Y. Aanstad are prosecuting the case.

Updated October 19, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime