Judge Invalidates Pleas In Reservation Killing

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A federal judge has invalidated guilty pleas for two defendants accused of killing a woman on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Elizabeth LeBeau and Fred Quiver accuse each other of strangling 24-year-old Emily Bluebird with an electronics cord in January 2016. Bluebird’s body was found on the reservation several weeks after her death following a search by volunteers.

The Rapid City Journal says South Dakota District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Viken invalidated the pleas in a recent court order. Viken says neither plea satisfies a federal rule of criminal procedure. Before entering judgment on a guilty plea, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea.

Viken has scheduled both defendants for a federal jury trial on Aug. 22.

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