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Press Release

Fort Thompson Man Sentenced for Assault

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Fort Thompson, South Dakota, man convicted of Assault Resulting in Substantial Bodily Injury was sentenced on July 23, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Austin Paul Abernathy, age 27, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Abernathy was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 12, 2017.  He pled guilty on May 5, 2018.

The conviction stems from an incident on August 27, 2017, when BIA Law Enforcement was summoned to a residence in Fort Thompson, in response to an assault.  The owner of the house stated that a woman had come to his door looking for help and bleeding.  A BIA officer arrived at the residence and found the victim standing in the house bleeding from her hand, leg, and arms.  The victim stated she was sleeping at the house across the street when she was attacked by her boyfriend, Abernathy.  An ambulance came to the residence and brought her to the hospital in Chamberlain.

The officer went across the street to check for Abernathy, who was finally found on a bed pretending to be asleep.  The officer detained Abernathy and put him in the back of his vehicle.  The officer also noticed blood on Abernathy’s hands and he was placed under arrest.

A Special Agent with the BIA went to the hospital in Chamberlain to speak with the victim, who stated she was in the back bedroom when Abernathy came in and began to hit her.  The victim required 12 stiches to close the wounds she received.  The victim and Abernathy were in a dating and intimate relationship at the time of the assault.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Crow Creek Agency.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy R. Morley prosecuted the case.

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

Updated July 24, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime