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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wounded Knee Woman Sentenced for Assault with the Intent to Commit Murder and Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that a Wounded Knee, South Dakota, woman convicted of Assault with the Intent to Commit Murder and Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury was sentenced on February 27, 2017, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

As to the charge of Assault with the Intent to Commit Murder, Phyllis Lucero, age 48, was sentenced to 20 years in custody, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. As to the charge of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, Lucero was sentenced to 10 years in custody, 3 years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently.

The conviction stems from Lucero, Daniel Hess, a/k/a Jason Hess, and Seth Hernandez, driving to a 73-year-old woman’s home on the evening of October 17, 2015, and breaking in with the intent to assault two victims and steal property, mainly cash. The three defendants wore masks covering their faces in order to disguise their appearances. Once the three masked individuals gained entrance to the home, the two male defendants assaulted and strangled the adult male victim until he was unconscious.

Lucero assaulted the 73-year-old female victim with her hands, feet and a dangerous weapon. As the elderly woman was lying in a pool of blood, the defendants went in and out of the home, removing personal property and loading it into the victim’s brand new pickup truck. Thinking the woman was dead, Lucero, Hess, and Hernandez fled the residence in the victim’s truck. Hess drove Lucero and Hernandez to separate locations within the Pine Ridge Reservation before returning to the victims’ home. When Hess returned a second time, he removed additional personal property and bound the male victim’s ankles with an electrical cord and his hands with duct tape. Hess also bound the elderly woman’s hands and ankles with duct tape.

Upon being transported to the Rapid City Regional Hospital and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, both victims were found to have extensive bruising and lacerations to their heads, bleeding on their brains, and rib fractures. The elderly woman had several lacerations to her face and head, which required 17 staples to secure.

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

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

Topic: 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Updated March 2, 2017