Skip to main content
Press Release

Life sentence imposed for murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation

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

Francis James Acebo Jr., age 34, of Arapaho, Wyoming, was sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree murder and causing death with a firearm; followed by a 10-year term of imprisonment for discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson imposed the sentence on May 16.

Acebo was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 16. The trial lasted five days and was held in Cheyenne before Judge Johnson. The defendant had been indicted by a grand jury and pleaded not guilty to the charges in May 2023.

According to evidence presented at trial and witnesses to the crime, Acebo entered the victim’s Riverton residence in the early morning of Mar. 25, 2023, and shot the victim in the back of the head. He fled the scene and later turned himself in to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.

“The successful prosecution of homicides and other violent crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation is one of our highest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas Vassallo. “Mr. Acebo’s life sentence is the result of a well-coordinated investigation by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and this office’s commitment to obtaining a first-degree murder conviction.”

“FBI Denver takes seriously all major crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, with murders like this one getting our full attention,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. “This sentence demonstrates the FBI's steadfast commitment to working with our tribal partners to solve MMIP cases and  promote public safety on reservations across the country.”

Special agents with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI investigated this crime. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kerry J. Jacobson and Timothy J. Forwood prosecuted the case.

Case No. 23-CR-00081


Contact: Lori Hogan (Contractor)
Public Information Officer
Office: 307-772-2124 
Twitter: @usaowy

Updated May 20, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-031