Andrew Kills Crow, 22, was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison on each of two counts of assault with dangerous weapons. The terms will be served concurrently. He previously entered guilty pleas to the charges in return for a host of other counts, including drug- and kidnapping-related charges, being dismissed.
Kills Crow only got involved in the kidnappings and assaults after one of the main players in the drug ring struck Kills Crow over the head with a gun and told him he had to drive a vehicle, said his attorney, Scott Kuck.
He said Kills Crow did drive and was on hand during the assaults, but did not possess a gun or plan the kidnappings or assaults.
The case stems from incidents in late December 2011 when between $6,000 and $7,000 in drugs and about $30,000 in cash were stolen from a Mobridge home. According to court paperwork, the drugs and money were stolen after Jose "Ivan" M. Garcia hosted a party to recruit people into the drug ring. Garcia and Marco Uribe, the other leader of the drug ring, then made a list of potential suspects who they thought might have stolen the drugs and rounded up those men, according to the documents in the case.
Kuck said Garcia struck Kills Crow in the head with the gun and told him he had to drive while the suspects were picked up and taken to the Wakpala area where they were threatened and assaulted.
Kornmann said he probably shouldn't have accepted Kills Crow's plea agreement because, if he felt threatened or coerced into participating, he could have a legitimate defense.
The judge called the deal a "cobbled together agreement that may or may not be based on the facts."
Kuck, though, said Kills Crow admitted to a listing of incidents and noted the many charges being dismissed. And, he said, there could be considerable problems defending Kills Crow at trial.
Kills Crow, who took responsibility for his actions and apologized for his actions, also asked to be sentenced.
"I'm not taking a chance on those other charges," he told Kornmann.
Kills Crow already has been in custody for more than 18 months, Kuck said. After he's released from prison, he will have to spend three years on supervised release. He was not fined, and there was no restitution ordered.
According to court paperwork, Uribe brought Garcia to South Dakota to help with the drug ring. Ultimately, Uribe was sentenced to 215 months in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Garcia was sentenced to 130 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Uribe pointed a gun at the heads of the victims and stuck his gun in the mouth of one of the men, according to paperwork filed in the case. The documents also said all four victims were ultimately left at the Wakpala Pow-Wow Grounds.
Kills Crow and Garcia walked up to the homes of one of the victims and told the man they were going to "go for a ride," according to testimony and documents in the case.
Kuck and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rich said they discussed Kills Crow's case at length trying to decide the best way to resolve it. They agree that Kills Crow is the least culpable of anybody involved in the drug ring.
Others sentenced in the case include:
- Amber Long Chase: 105 months for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
- Nathan Martin: 109 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and assault with dangerous weapons.
- Time Stout: 151 months for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
- Dustin Swimmer: 37 months for possession of with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
- Anthony Brown Otter: 125 months on charges of assault with dangerous weapons and brandishing a fire arm during a crime of violence.