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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wamblee Tonka Rowland Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 12, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, WAMBLEE TONKA ROWLAND, a 34-year-old resident of Lame Deer and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, pled guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon. Sentencing has been set for May 15, 2013. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On July 16, 2012, the victim was at her home in Lame Deer, which is within the boundaries of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. ROWLAND and the victim got into a verbal argument that escalated to the point where ROWLAND threw rocks at her. ROWLAND threatened to kill the victim and told her that he was going to get his gun. ROWLAND then walked to his house, in the same neighborhood, and retrieved a shot gun. He loaded the gun with shells, walked toward the victim, and confronted her with the gun. He cocked the gun and pointed it at her. The victim retreated into her residence but, once inside, remembered that her children were outside and went back out to retrieve her kids. The victim was afraid that ROWLAND would shoot her in front of her kids.

ROWLAND's common law wife was outside of ROWLAND's house and witnessed the altercation with the victim. She tried to calm ROWLAND down, but ROWLAND's response was to point the gun at her. When interviewed, though, ROWLAND's common-law wife said that she was not afraid because the gun was not operational and she believed that she could calm ROWLAND down.

The police were called by neighbors who also witnessed the altercation. ROWLAND retreated into his house, hid the shotgun, and then hid under a table. He was arrested while trying to hide. He had shells in his pocket. The shot gun was seized.

Law enforcement test fired the shotgun and confirmed that it is operational.

ROWLAND faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Updated January 14, 2015