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Press Release

Red Lake Man Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison For Second Degree Murder

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

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced the sentencing of MICHAEL WAYNE WHITEFEATHER, 18, to 264 months in prison for murder in the second degree. WHITEFEATHER, who pleaded guilty on December 17, 2018, was sentenced today by Judge Susan Richard Nelson in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

United States Attorney Erica MacDonald said, “This tragic and senseless act of violence resulted in the death of an innocent young man. We are working in collaboration with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to do all we can to protect our communities from violent crimes such as this.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, during the early morning hours of April 28, 2018, WHITEFEATHER and several other members of the Back of Town (“BOT”) gang were driving around looking for rival gang members on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. They encountered the victim and another male walking in a parking lot between the Red Lake Skate Park and the Red Lake Middle and High Schools. WHITEFEATHER and the other BOT gang members mistakenly thought the victim was a rival gang member. WHITEFEATHER exited the vehicle, retrieved a shotgun, and chased after the victim on foot. When WHITEFEATHER caught up to the victim, he assaulted him and shot him in the face, resulting in the victim’s death.  

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Red Lake Department of Public Safety, the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, the Bemidji Police Department, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, and United States Customs and Border Protection. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad.


Defendant Information:


Red Lake, Minn. 


  • Murder in the second degree, 1 count


  • 264 months in prison
  • Five years of supervised release





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated June 3, 2019

Indian Country Law and Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime