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Press Release

Pine Ridge Man Sentenced to Nearly 32 Years in Federal Prison for Second Degree Murder and Arson

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Pine Ridge, South Dakota, man convicted of Second Degree Murder and Arson was sentenced by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Emery Arapahoe III, age 19, was sentenced on September 17, 2019, to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund on the Second Degree Murder charge.  Arapahoe was also sentenced to 10 additional years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and another $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund for the Arson charge, for a total of 31 years and 10 months.

Arapahoe was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2019.  During the early morning hours of October 16, 2017, Arapahoe stole a truck from a residence at Pine Ridge and drove to a trailer in Allen, South Dakota.  Inside the trailer he observed the victim, Ray Waters, Jr., sleeping on a couch in the living room.  Arapahoe picked up an axe and struck the victim multiple times in the head and neck, killing him.  Arapahoe then went into one of the bedrooms in the trailer and started a fire with materials from that room.  When Arapahoe fled from the house fire, he crashed the truck containing items from the homicide. 

“This was an unimaginably violent crime, like something out of a horror movie,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons.  “I am relieved for us all that this offender has been removed from society and committed to federal prison.”

This case was investigated by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Indian Affairs - Office of Justice Services, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan Poppen and Ben Patterson prosecuted the case.

Arapahoe was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated September 19, 2019

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime