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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Monday, March 26, 2018

Eagle Butte Man Sentenced for Arson

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that an Eagle Butte, South Dakota, man convicted of Arson was sentenced on March 20, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Stuart Turning Heart, age 44, was sentenced to 42 months in custody, followed by 3 years of supervised release, $790 in restitution to the victim, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Turning Heart was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 14, 2017.  He pled guilty on December 29, 2017.

The conviction stems from an incident on August 14, 2017, when Turning Heart and his girlfriend had been drinking at a friend’s residence in Eagle Butte, and were asked to leave by the owner as they were being disrespectful and disorderly.  The owner then went to the Dollar Store in Eagle Butte, and when he arrived back to his residence a short time later, it was on fire.  Law enforcement was called immediately. 

During the investigation, law enforcement learned that Turning Heart’s girlfriend saw Turning Heart come running from the victim’s home and say “I finally lit it, I lit the house on fire.”  She looked up and saw smoke coming from the house.  Law enforcement also interviewed two witnesses who stated that Turning Heart admitted to each of them separately that he had lit the home on fire and was laughing and joking about it.

ATF was called and completed an investigation.  They concluded that the fire started at the back of the home where a mattress was lit on fire.

This case was investigated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges prosecuted the case.

Turning Heart was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated March 26, 2018