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Ponca Tribe Member Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter

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23 year-old Sage Atheakee Gomez, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, announced Robert J. Troester of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the court documents, on Sept. 15, 2018, Gomez stabbed B.L.W., a member of the Tonkawa Tribe, at a rural residence on Indian land near Ponca City. The victim died of his wounds on Oct. 2.

Before the victim’s death, Gomez was charged by complaint on Sept. 21 and made his initial appearance in federal court in Oklahoma City on Set. 25. Gomez has remained in federal custody since that time.

On Oct, 16, 2018, a federal grand jury charged Gomez with three federal crimes: voluntary manslaughter “upon sudden quarrel and heat of passion” in Indian Country, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in Indian Country.

Recently on March 8, 2019, Gomez pleaded guilty to a suspending information that charged him with involuntary manslaughter. The new charge alleged that when Gomez stabbed the victim during an altercation, Gomez committed a reckless act “without due caution and circumspection, which might produce death.”

The maximum penalty that could be imposed as a result of this guilty plea is eight years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Gomez could also face up to three years of supervised release and will be required to pay restitution to the victim’s estate. Sentencing will take place in 90 days.