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Press Release

Lower Brule Man Sentenced for Voluntary Manslaughter

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

PIERRE - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court, has sentenced a Lower Brule, South Dakota, man convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter following a three-day jury trial in federal district court in Pierre, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on July 20, 2023, and the sentencing took place on November 6, 2023.

Joseph Thompson, Sr., age 32, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Thompson was also ordered to pay $3,550 in restitution to the victim’s family.

Thompson was indicted by a federal grand jury in May of 2023 and was convicted in July of 2023. 

The conviction stems from an incident that occurred on March 25, 2023, in Lower Brule. Thompson was at the home of an acquaintance when he heard a disturbance outside the residence. Thompson left the residence, walked around the corner of the home, and saw a man standing near the home.  Thompson produced a knife and stabbed the man five times, piercing his heart. There was no indication that the other man was displaying a weapon when Thompson fatally stabbed him.

This matter was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office because the Major Crimes Act, a federal statute, mandates that certain violent crimes alleged to have occurred in Indian Country be prosecuted in Federal court as opposed to State court.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs - Office of Justice Services - Crow Creek Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy R. Morley prosecuted the case.

The defendant was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence.

Updated November 17, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime