United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Kyle, South Dakota, man convicted of Second Degree Murder was sentenced on August 20, 2019, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.
Jamie Shoulders, age 27, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,615.12. Shoulders was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 14, 2017. He pled guilty to Second Degree Murder on March 1, 2019.
The conviction stemmed from a homicide that occurred on May 27, 2017, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Throughout the day on May 27, 2017, Jamie Shoulders and Clarence Yellow Hawk, a/k/a “Whodi”, were with Scott Benson. During the mid-afternoon, Yellow Hawk and Shoulders traveled with Benson to meet with Christopher “Chris” Janis and another person. Benson drove his vehicle, Yellow Hawk rode in the front passenger seat, and Shoulders rode in the back seat. Benson parked his vehicle at a driveway approach approximately two miles north of Sharps Corner. Upon arriving, Benson exited the driver’s seat and entered the back seat of the minivan occupied by Chris Janis (driver’s seat) and his passenger. While Benson was in the minivan, Shoulders took a handgun from the car and walked to the minivan’s driver-door window, by Janis. Shoulders shot Chris Janis through the window using the handgun, which broke the glass, and then fired at least one additional shot at him. As shots rang out, Benson and the passenger began fleeing the minivan. Yellow Hawk exited Benson’s vehicle, approached the minivan and picked up the handgun Shoulders dropped, and shot Janis several additional times. Chris Janis died from his multiple gunshot wounds. Yellow Hawk and Shoulders fired at least seven rounds at Janis.
Benson, Yellow Hawk, and Shoulders returned to their vehicle. Benson initially drove south towards Sharps Corner, then around the area before returning to another person’s house, where Yellow Hawk, Shoulders and Benson split up. During the drive, Yellow Hawk threw the firearm out the window, which was later recovered by law enforcement.
Co-defendant Scott Benson was sentenced on May 24, 2018, to 10 years in federal prison. Co-defendant Clarence Yellow Hawk was found guilty of First Degree Murder by a federal jury on May 3, 2019, and awaits sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn N. Rich and Gregg Peterman prosecuted the case.
Shoulders was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.