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Justice News

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

Friday, September 20, 2019

Spirit Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury of a Child

FARGO – First Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Chase, District of North Dakota, announced that on September 17, 2019, Jonathan James Hill, age 22, an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Peter D. Welte, Fargo, ND, to an Indictment charging him with Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.

At the plea hearing, Hill admitted that between December 26, 2018, and January 1, 2019, he assaulted a baby by hitting the baby with his fists and shoving the child into walls. 

On January 1, 2019, emergency medical technicians responded to a residence in Fort Totten, ND, within the boundaries of the Spirit Lake Reservation, for a report of an unresponsive baby.  Medical providers described the 20-month-old baby as “noticeably bruised to face & entire body.”  The baby was diagnosed with multiple acute and chronic injuries to the brain and body.  The injuries were characterized by medical providers as “non-accidental” and were determined to be consistent with abusive head trauma and child physical abuse.  The baby’s injuries required air transport for medical treatment, surgical intervention, and months-long hospitalization. 

Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 2019, at 9:00 AM before Judge Peter D. Welte.  A 10-year minimum prison sentence applies given the nature of the injuries and the age of the victim.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lori H. Conroy.

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Terry W. Van Horn, 701-297-7458
Updated September 20, 2019