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Press Release

Umatilla Man Sentenced for Strangling Victim Near Children

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

PORTLAND, Ore.—Joel Malcom Salt, 29, of Umatilla, Oregon, was sentenced today to time served, having already served 22 months in custody, plus three years’ supervised release for strangling his significant other in the presence of their four children.

According to court documents, on April 12, 2017, Salt, a Navajo Indian, violated a tribal protective order by going to the crime victim’s house. The victim is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, who lives on the reservation with their four children. When Salt arrived at the house, he grabbed the victim by her hair, threw her to the ground in front of their children, and dragged her to the bedroom. Once in the bedroom, Salt pinned the victim to the floor, punched her and strangled her, causing her to lose consciousness several times.

To divert his attention, victim told Salt their children probably left the house to tell her father, who lived next door, that Salt was beating her. Hearing this, Salt released his victim and left the room to check. While he was out of the room, the victim escaped out of the window and ran to her father’s house. Her father retrieved the four children and called the police. Salt fled before the police arrived, but was later arrested.

On June 13, 2017, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a one-count indictment charging Salt with assault by strangulation. He pleaded guilty to the charge on November 27, 2018.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown ordered Salt to attend an intensive batterer’s intervention program and to undergo substance abuse and mental health treatment. Among other conditions of supervision, Salt is prohibited from entering the Umatilla Indian Reservation or contacting the victim and their children without advance approval of his probation officer and notice to the United States Attorney’s Office.

This case was investigated by the Umatilla Tribal Police Department and FBI Portland’s Safe Trails Task Force. It was prosecuted by Jennifer Martin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The Safe Trails Task Force (STTF) unites FBI and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in a collaborative effort to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. STTF allows participating agencies to combine limited resources and increase investigative coordination in Indian Country to target violent crime, drugs, gangs and gaming violations.

Updated May 28, 2019

Indian Country Law and Justice