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Press Release

Jury finds Mission Man Guilty of Felon in Possession of a Firearm

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Luke Joseph Burning Breast, age 36, of Mission, South Dakota, was found guilty of Felon in Possession of a Firearm as a result of a federal jury trial in Pierre, South Dakota.  The verdict was returned on December 10, 2019.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

Burning Breast was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 13, 2019.  In 2008, Burning Breast was convicted in Federal court of Drug User in Possession of a Firearm, a felony.  On April 9, 2019, in Rosebud, South Dakota,  Burning Breast was at a residence when an altercation ensued between Burning Breast and his domestic partner.  Law enforcement was contacted and responded to the residence. During questioning, the officers noted a rifle magazine on the table and Burning Breast requested his rifle be retrieved from outside. The arresting officers knew that Burning Breast had a prior felony conviction and asked him about the firearm and conviction. Burning Breast erroneously claimed he was no longer a felon, though the investigation revealed his conviction remained valid.   

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case was investigated by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Elmore prosecuted the case.

A sentencing date has not been set.  Burning Breast was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated December 12, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods