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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Warm Springs Woman Pleads Guilty to Assault with Intent to Commit Murder of Two Family Members

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, Rhyan Leigh Smith, 26, of Warm Springs, Oregon, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts of assault with the intent to commit murder in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a) and 1153, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of March 16, 2016, Smith returned to a house she had periodically resided in with five of her family members. At approximately 8:00 a.m., Smith retrieved a pistol she had taken from the owner without permission. Smith conversed briefly with a family member in doorway of the family member’s bedroom before shooting him five times. A second family member heard the gunshots and tried to stop Smith, but Smith shot her multiple times. Both victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

The Warm Springs Police Department and the FBI responded to the house and found Smith hiding in sagebrush near the house with an AR-15 assault rifle. Investigators later found a camouflage rifle bag with multiple AR-15 magazines, loose ammunition and a 9mm pistol in a vehicle at the house.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 21, 2018 before United States Chief District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Warm Springs Police Department and prosecuted by William Narus and Craig Gabriel, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

On March 3, 1994, the FBI initiated “Operation Safe Trails” with the Navajo Department of Law Enforcement in Flagstaff, Arizona. The operation, which would later evolve into the Safe Trails Task Force (STTF) Program, unites FBI and other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in a collaborative effort to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. STTFs allow participating agencies to combine limited resources and increase investigative coordination in Indian Country to target violent crime, drugs, gangs, and gaming violations.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Updated February 7, 2018