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Press Release

Pierre Woman Indicted for Involuntary Manslaughter

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Pierre, South Dakota, woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Involuntary Manslaughter.

Emerald Plenty Chief, age 25, was indicted on January 12, 2021.  She appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on February 2, 2021, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to eight years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that on April 26, 2020, in Hughes County, South Dakota, Plenty Chief killed another human being by operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

The charge is merely an accusation and Plenty Chief is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Hughes County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson is prosecuting the case.   

Plenty Chief was released on bond pending trial.  A trial date has not been set.

Updated February 4, 2021