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Press Release

McLaughlin Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for First Degree Murder and Firearm Charge

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

PIERRE - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that a McLaughlin, South Dakota, man convicted of First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence that Causes Death was sentenced on November 14, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann.

Casey Lynn Crow Ghost, age 44, was sentenced to life in federal prison on both charges, ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and ordered to forfeit his ownership of a handgun used in the crimes.

Crow Ghost was indicted for First Degree Murder and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence that Causes Death by a federal grand jury in January of 2021. He was convicted by a jury on all charges on August 11, 2022.

The convictions stem from the December 12, 2020, shooting death of Crow Ghost's romantic partner in McLaughlin on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. The victim's body was discovered on December 15, 2020, and an autopsy determined she died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Crow Ghost was interviewed by law enforcement and claimed that the shooting was both an accident and a result of self-defense. Evidence gathered by law enforcement showed Crow Ghost murdered the victim with a handgun and did so with premeditation. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. 

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Standing Rock Agency, and the Corson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook prosecuted the case.

Crow Ghost was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated November 16, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Indian Country Law and Justice
Firearms Offenses