Three Plead Not Guilty In Reservation Killing; Trial Set for March 16 In Casper
Three defendants charged in the stabbing death of a man on the Wind River Indian Reservation in June pleaded not guilty in federal court in Casper last week, according to court records.
Susan Chippewa is charged with first degree murder in the death of Jared Dean Little Whiteman. Byron Spoonhunter and Jaymes Whiteplume are each charged with aiding and abetting first degree murder, according to their indictment.
They entered their pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich.
The defendants are, and Little Whiteman was, enrolled members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Their trial, which is estimated to take more than five days, is set for March 16 in Casper. If convicted, they face life imprisonment. They are in custody.
The case began on June 16 when FBI agent Douglas Walker was called to the residence of Little Whiteman's grandmother, who had not heard from him for nearly two weeks, according to an affidavit Walker filed with the court.
According to witness Will Wallowingbull, who was interviewed by Special Agent Martin Armajo of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wallowingbull and another man picked up Little Whiteman at his grandmother's house on June 2 and took him to a trailer on the reservation. When they arrived, one of the men in the pickup and others "jumped" Whiteman, took him into the trailer, tied his hands and feet, placed him on a recliner in a back room of the trailer, and interrogated him about drugs and money.
Wallowingbull was given a gun and told to watch Little Whiteman. Wallowingbull began untying Little Whiteman because his hands were numb.
Whiteplume walked into the room, asked what was going on, and took the gun from Wallowingbull. They went to another part of the trailer where Whiteplume gave Chippewa a knife.
Chippewa went to the back room, and Wallowingbull then heard screaming. Wallowingbull went to the room and saw Whiteplume holding down Little Whiteman while Chippewa stabbed him.
Chippewa told Armajo that she slit Little Whiteman's throat and Spoonhunter also stabbed him. The three wrapped Little Whiteman's body in a carpet and took him to a nearby location where they buried him.
FBI and BIA officers exhumed the body and positively identified it as that of Little Whiteman's. An autopsy determined the manner of death was homicide, and the cause of death was more than 40 stab wounds include a cut to the throat.