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Press Release

Sisseton Man Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter

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

ABERDEEN - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Jay Adams, Jr., age 57, of Sisseton, South Dakota, appeared before U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann on November 20, 2023, and pleaded guilty to a Superseding Information that charged him with Voluntary Manslaughter.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years in custody and/or a $250,000 fine, and a $50 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.

In 1992, in Roberts County, Adams killed a minor victim, in the heat of passion, by inflicting fatal blunt force trauma to her head. Adams has signed documents admitting he used violent force to inflict the injury upon the victim in the early morning hours of September 4, 1992. Adams did not seek medical attention for the victim and later the same day discovered she had died. Adams feigned ignorance as to the cause of the victim’s injury. Earlier this year, new evidence came to light which implicated Adams in the death of the victim.

“Cold cases are not closed cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Alison J. Ramsdell, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. “As this tragic case demonstrates, no matter how long it takes, we remain committed to working alongside our law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice. It is our hope that this work offers some measure of closure to victims’ families and helps honor the sacred memory of missing and murdered Indigenous persons.”

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 is part of the Department of Justice’s newly created Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Regional Outreach Program, which aims to aid in the prevention and response to missing or murdered Indigenous people through the resolution of MMIP cases and communication, coordination, and collaboration with federal, Tribal, state, and local partners. The Department views this work as a priority for its law enforcement components. Through the MMIP Regional Outreach Program, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify MMIP cases and issues in Tribal communities and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. This prosecution upholds the Department’s mission to the unwavering pursuit of justice on behalf of victims and their families despite the passage of time.

The investigation was conducted by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribal Police Department and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by MMIP Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Great Plains Region Troy R.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for June 3, 2024, in Aberdeen
South Dakota. Adams was ordered to self-surrender to U.S. Marshals custody by 2:00 p.m. on
December 11, 2023.

Updated November 26, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime