A federal judge has ordered a man to prison for stabbing a friend to death with a sword.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters ordered Tyson Jo Lonebear to serve six years in prison, followed by three years of supervision, for the death of Chay Little.
Lonebear pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter for the May 18, 2016, stabbing in Lame Deer.
He was sentenced Thursday.
Lonebear, 28, was initially charged with second-degree murder after prosecutors said he stabbed 21-year-old Little in the chest with 3-foot long sword.
In court records, Lonebear's defense attorney said Lonebear and Little were long-time friends who had both consumed alcohol and meth the night of the stabbing.
The violence erupted following a late-night confrontation between the two men that started when Little and Lonebear's mother got into an argument.
Lonebear left the residence after the initial confrontation, but then returned a few hours later.
Prosecutors said Little attempted to punch Lonebear several times and Lonebear responded by stabbing Little with the sword.
(FEBRUARY 23, 2017) Tyson Lonebear, the Lame Deer man accused of stabbing a man to death with a sword on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation last year, pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday.
Lonebear, 27, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Billings to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Lonebear was initially charged with second-degree murder for the death of Chay Little, 21, in May.
The charge of voluntary manslaughter provides that Lonebear acted out of a sudden heat of passion that was fueled by Little’s physical altercation with Lonebear’s mother earlier that day.
According to court documents, Little went to the home of Lonebear’s mother at around 3 a.m.
Little’s dog got into a fight with the woman’s dog, so he stunned both dogs with a Taser.
Little then tried to enter the woman’s home but she prevented him from entering, which led to a fight.
The woman hit Little several times and he used the taser to stun the woman in the chest, according to court documents.
As he was trying to leave, the woman grabbed onto Little’s legs and he dragged her down the driveway.
Lonebear then left the home and hit Little with a bar or stick, according to court documents.
Little was able to get away and ran off, shouting he would burn the woman’s house down later.
Lonebear received a message at around 5:30 a.m. that Little had returned to town and he got a ride to Little’s location.
When the vehicle stopped, Little opened the door and attempted to punch Lonebear several times.
Lonebear then brandished a 3-foot-long sword and stabbed Little once in the chest, according to court documents.
Lonebear then fled the reservation. He was arrested later that day in Hardin.
Little was taken to the hospital by Lonebear’s grandmother. Little was pronounced dead an hour later.
Prosecutors have not said what sentence they will recommend. A sentencing date has not yet been set.