GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Joseph Lee King, 59, from Peshawbestown (Leelanau County), Michigan, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for Domestic Assault – Habitual Offender, U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney imposed a 2-year term of supervised release that will commence once King is released from imprisonment.
King pled guilty on July 26, 2018. He admitted that the assault occurred during an argument on the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians’ Reservation. King was subject to increased penalties under federal law because he had at least two prior convictions for domestic violence. The United States had jurisdiction over the case because it occurred in Indian Country.
In its sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted "a witness observed the defendant grabbing the victim by the throat, practically lifting her off the ground by the neck, and then throwing her to the ground. Police observed bruising and discoloration on and around the victim’s neck." The United States sought a significant sentence because of King’s conduct, his long criminal history, and his pattern of offending against women. The United States noted that King had previously strangled or attempted to strangle his domestic partners. "Such conduct is extremely dangerous and poses great risk to its victims," the United States argued. In light of the facts that domestic violence often causes severe, ongoing harm to women and is a risk factor for future domestic homicide, the United States emphasized the need to protect the public and promote respect for the law.
The Grand Traverse Band Tribal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Lewis prosecuted the case.