Fatal Stabbing in Indian Country Leads to Five-Year Prison Sentence
OKLAHOMA CITY – SAGE ATHEAKEE GOMEZ, 23, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, has been sentenced to five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
According to court documents, on September 15, 2018, Gomez stabbed B.L.W., a member of the Tonkawa Tribe, at a rural residence on Indian land near Ponca City. The victim died of his wounds on October 2. Gomez has been in federal custody since his arrest in late September 2018.
On October 16, 2018, a federal grand jury charged Gomez with three federal crimes: voluntary manslaughter "upon sudden quarrel and heat of passion" in Indian Country, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country, and Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury in Indian Country. On March 8, 2019, Gomez pleaded guilty to a superseding information that charged him with involuntary manslaughter. In particular, the new charge alleged that when he stabbed the victim during an altercation, Gomez committed a reckless act "without due caution and circumspection, which might produce death."
After a lengthy hearing today, U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin sentenced Gomez to five years in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by three years of supervised release. This prison sentence is above the advisory imprisonment range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The court also ordered Gomez to pay $6,890.27 in restitution to cover funeral expenses. Of that amount, $5,500 will go to the Tonkawa Tribe and $1,390.27 will go to the Oklahoma Crime Victims Fund.
This case is result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arvo Q. Mikkanen and Matthew Anderson.
Reference is made to public filings for further information.