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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bismarck Man Pleads Guilty to Killing His Brother on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation

FARGO – U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Jan. 7, 2014, Orlen Francis Smith, Jr., 26, of Bismarck, N.D., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to charges of voluntary manslaughter, assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon.

On Feb. 25, 2013, Smith, Jr., an enrolled member of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, went to the home of his brother, Daniel Smith, located in St. Michael, N.D., on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. An altercation occurred between Smith, Jr. and his brother Daniel. Smith, Jr. armed himself with a switchblade knife and swung at his brother, striking Daniel in the side of his chest, piercing his heart. Daniel died at the scene. Smith, Jr. then attacked two others in the residence, puncturing one person in the forearm with the knife and another individual suffered a laceration on the forehead.

The charge of voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment. The charges of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sentencing for Smith, Jr. has been set for April 7, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice M. Morley is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 29, 2015