Three Warm Springs residents deny guilt in murder cases

Last Friday, three friends from Warm Springs pleaded not guilty to charges that they conspired in the murder of two individuals from that community last month. The two female defendants, 20 and 25 years of age, were indicted on charges of first-degree murder in the killing of a 30-year-old Warm Springs resident determined to have died of blunt-force trauma to the face and head.

A 38-year-old male friend of the suspects was accused of removing evidence of the slaying from the vehicle used in the slaying. He has been charged as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. He also reportedly confessed last Thursday to the unrelated killing of another 33-year-old Warm Springs resident.

In his alleged confession, Brown told an FBI agent that he shot an acquaintance with a rifle the latter offered to sell him. That shooting was, according to Brown, an accident as he didn't know the gun was loaded. He has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with that killing.

All three defendants face potential life sentences for their roles in the killings. One thing our readers may not realize is that on reservations, U.S. law recognizes the authority of trial court systems for most minor crimes, provided at least one Native American is involved. But, major crimes like homicide are prosecuted in the federal system. Crimes that happen off the reservation often go to state courts.

Homicide is a serious crime, and anybody accused of it needs to obtain a strong criminal defense. It is important to do everything possible to take control of the case early on, preferably before an Indictment is issued. Doing so can help in steering the case in a favorable direction.

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