Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Conviction and Sentence for Sexual Abuse of a Minor and Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury
United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announces that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the district court in appeal no. 15-2150, United States of America, appellee, v. Stoney End of Horn, appellant.
End of Horn was convicted by a jury of four counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The district court sentenced End of Horn to concurrent sentences of 293 months’ imprisonment for each count of sexual abuse and another concurrent sentence of 120 months’ imprisonment for the assault.
In September 2008, End of Horn was out drinking with his girlfriend, Pauline Brave Crow, in Mobridge, South Dakota. Towards the end of the evening he agreed to give his cousin and two of his cousin’s friends a ride to Wakpala, South Dakota, in Brave Crow’s car.
During the drive, End of Horn and Brave Crow began to argue. End of Horn stopped the car and continued to argue with Brave Crow. End of Horn struck Brave Crow in the face with his open palm, and the two got out of the car, continuing to argue. As the argument began to escalate, the other passengers decided to walk into Wakpala. They left Brave Crow and End of Horn at the side of the road.
Sometime later, a passing motorist encountered Brave Crow’s vehicle on the side of the road to Wakpala. At trial, that witness testified that when she stopped behind the parked car, she saw End of Horn hitting Brave Crow repeatedly.
Brave Crow suffered a serious fracture, known as a LeFort III fracture, in the bones of her face. She sustained broken bones in her upper jaw and face, facial swelling and bruising on the left side of her face, and bruising under both eyes. End of Horn blamed the assault on a group of hitchhikers he encountered while driving to Wakpala. No hitchhikers were ever identified, and End of Horn himself sustained no injuries.
Brave Crow was “very, very quiet” when interviewed, and she did not identify her assailant when hospitalized. Brave Crow’s injuries required multiple surgeries. Her health deteriorated, and she eventually died on June 25, 2010, as a result of complications from injuries caused by the assault.
The evidence concerning sexual abuse centered on the testimony of a young victim, who was 12 years old when the abuse occurred. The victim lived with End of Horn and Brave Crow in McLaughlin. She testified that End of Horn’s sexual abuse happened once a month from April through July 2010. The sexual abuse happened while she was staying at the house of End of Horn’s father in Wakpala.
A grand jury charged End of Horn with second-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury based on the attack on Brave Crow. A separate grand jury charged him with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor. By agreement of the parties, the cases were consolidated for trial. A jury convicted End of Horn of assault, murder, and four counts of sexual abuse. The district court concluded that the second-degree murder charge required proof that Brave Crow’s death occurred within a year and one day of the assault. Because the interval between assault and death was 21 months, the court set aside the verdict on the murder count. The court then sentenced End of Horn on the remaining counts to four concurrent terms of imprisonment of 293 months for the sexual abuse and 120 months for the assault.
End of Horn appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, challenging the evidence supporting his conviction, some trial evidentiary rulings, and the length of his sentence. The appellate court found that the evidence supported the charges for which End of Horn was convicted, that any erroneous evidentiary rulings were harmless given the other uncontested evidence, and that the district court acted within its discretion in imposing its sentence.
This case was investigated by the United States National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Troy R. Morley prosecuted the case at trial and handled the appeal for the government.