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Press Release

McLaughlin Woman Sentenced for Involuntary Manslaughter

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

ABERDEEN - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Charles B. Kornmann has sentenced a McLaughlin, South Dakota woman convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter. The sentencing took place on October 2, 2023.

Jessica Black Cloud, age 24, was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Black Cloud was indicted for Involuntary Manslaughter by a federal grand jury in August of 2022. She pleaded guilty on June 20, 2023.

On April 19, 2022, Black Cloud was driving a vehicle in Corson County within the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and she had two passengers with her. She was drinking vodka and was under the influence of alcohol and her blood alcohol content was .248%, or more than three times the legal limit. At some time after 3:00 AM, she drove into a curve in the roadway on U.S. Highway 12, lost control of her vehicle, over-corrected, and entered the ditch. Her vehicle spun out of control and ultimately rolled.  One of her passengers was partially ejected and died at the scene. A second passenger remained in the vehicle and had minor injuries. Black Cloud was also ejected and injured, but received medical care and recovered.

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 South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Standing Rock Agency, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher prosecuted the case.

Black Cloud was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.



Updated October 6, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice