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Press Release

Winnebago Man Sentenced for Strangulation

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

United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Seth J. Lopez, 21, of Winnebago, Nebraska, was sentenced May 24, 2024, in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska for strangulation of an intimate or dating partner. Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Lopez to 30 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After Lopez is released from prison, he will begin a 3-year term of supervised release.

On December 7, 2022, the victim, a Native American woman, arrived at the Winnebago Police Department in Winnebago, Nebraska on the Winnebago Indian Reservation to report being the victim of an assault by Lopez. The victim was accompanied by another woman who had witnessed the assault. Earlier that night, Lopez assaulted the victim when she attempted to leave Lopez’s residence. The witness was accompanying the victim to help her gather her possessions and leave the residence when Lopez assaulted the victim. Lopez threw the victim onto the bed and strangled her by placing both his hands around the victim’s neck and applying pressure. The witness was yelling at Lopez to stop and when he let up, the victim was able to get up off the bed. As the victim tried to leave, Lopez backed the victim into a closet asking her, “Where do you think you’re going?” Lopez then grabbed the victim from behind with his arm around her neck, dragging her back to the bed. When the victim tried to scream, Lopez covered her mouth and face with his free hand, which prevented the victim from screaming and breathing. Lopez’s father heard the altercation, came to the room and told Lopez to stop and let the victim go. The witness to the assault also saw Lopez pull out a knife and hold it toward the victim while the victim’s back was turned from Lopez. Lopez did not attempt to use the knife and the victim herself never saw the knife. The victim had visible bruising and red marks on her neck after the assault.

This case was prosecuted in federal court because the offense occurred on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in what is known as Indian Country, and is an offense under the Major Crimes Act, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1153, giving the United States jurisdiction.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has law enforcement jurisdiction for felony offenses on the Reservations in the District of Nebraska.


Lecia Wright - Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney (402) 661-3700

Updated May 28, 2024