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Press Release

Meskwaki Man Sentenced to Twenty-Five Years’ Imprisonment for Murder Committed on the Meskwaki Nation Settlement

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

A man who committed murder on the Meskwaki Nation Settlement was sentenced today to twenty-five years in federal prison.

Jonathan Youngbear, 21, from the Meskwaki Nation Settlement, Iowa, received the prison term after a January 28, 2015, guilty plea to one count of second degree murder in “Indian Country.”

In a plea agreement, Youngbear admitted that he stabbed Severn Jefferson twice in the neck and chest with a knife.  Youngbear further admitted that the victim bled to death as a result of the stab wounds.  At the time he stabbed the victim, Youngbear was under the influence of alcohol and also had methamphetamine in his system.

Youngbear was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Youngbear was sentenced to twenty-five years’ imprisonment.  The Court imposed a special assessment of $100 and he was ordered to make $3,026.20 in restitution to the Iowa Crime Victim compensation Program.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Youngbear is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Peter Deegan and Tony Morfitt and investigated by the Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police Department, the Tama County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court file information is available at  The case file number is 14-CR-00046.

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Updated May 13, 2015