Justice Department Strengthens Efforts To Address The Crisis Of Missing Or Murdered Indigenous Persons
RENO, Nev. – A man was sentenced today to two years and six months in prison for strangling and suffocating a woman on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI.
Wakinyan Blindman, an indigenous person, 39, pleaded guilty in November 2020 to one count of assault of an intimate partner by strangulation or suffocation within Indian Country. U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks presided over the sentencing hearing.
According to court documents and admissions made in court, on July 31, 2020, Blindman assaulted a woman on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe's Reservation, located 35 miles northeast of Reno. He hit her with a closed fist, strangled her, and suffocated her by shoving dirt and weeds into her mouth. As a result of the assault, the woman suffered serious bodily injury.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance by the Pyramid Lake Tribal Police Department and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. Assistant U.S. Attorney Penelope Brady prosecuted the case.
For more information on domestic violence or to get help, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at https://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
This case was brought as part of Project Veronica, an initiative that the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada launched in August 2020. Project Veronica brings together law enforcement agencies, tribes, victims of domestic violence, and local and state government within Nevada to curb domestic violence and sexual violence. Project Veronica is named in honor of a local victim of domestic violence named Veronica Caldwell. In 2015, Veronica lost her life at the hands of her husband, who also shot and killed Veronica’s daughter Yvonne and her daughter’s boyfriend.