United States Attorney Mark A. Klaassen announced today that Ashley Rose Yellowbear, age 27, Samuel Harold Friday, age 37, Kristen Jade Antelope, age 26, and Rusty Tso Tabaho, Sr. age 27, all residents of the Wind River Indian Reservation, were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 18, 2020, for Kidnapping and Aiding and Abetting. Yellowbear and Friday were also indicted for Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to do Bodily Harm. Klaassen stated “Even in times of crisis, we must continue to enforce the law and protect our communities. Violent crime is a top priority for my office and we are working to address violence in Indian country and across Wyoming. These efforts require partnerships at every level to effectively investigate and prosecute these crimes.”
The Indictment alleges that on or about January 1, 2020, the defendants knowingly and unlawfully kidnapped a woman and a man for the purpose of assault and intimidating them to prevent reporting these acts. According to the charges, the defendants knowingly aided and abetted each other in committing the kidnapping offense. The Indictment further alleges that Yellowbear and Friday each assaulted one of the victims with a dangerous weapon, a tire-iron.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for kidnapping and aiding and abetting is up to life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered. The maximum penalty upon conviction for assault with a deadly weapon is up to ten years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution to the victims may be ordered.
All defendants had their initial appearance before Chief United States District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on March 25, 2020. Judge Skavdahl remanded the defendants to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention and arraignment hearing scheduled for March 30, 2020. A trial date has not yet been set.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wind River Police Department.