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United States of America v. Trent Sowsonicut
District of Utah Federal Courthouse - Salt Lake City, Utah
Case Number: 2:17-cr-00034-DS
Judge: David Sam
Court: United States District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Stephen L. Nelson and Michael J. Thorpe
Defendant's Attorney: Kristen R. Angelos and Wendy M. Lewis - FPD
Description: Salt Lake City, UT - Ute Tribal Member Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter on Uintah and Ouray Tribal Lands
Trent Sowsonicut, age 28, of Ft. Duchesne, Utah, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on January 9, 2017 in federal court in Salt Lake City. As a part of the plea agreement, Sowsonicut admitted that he killed L.M., an enrolled member of the Ute Indian Tribe, during a quarrel within the boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
Sowsonicut, who is also a tribal member, admitted that on Aug. 13, 2016, he went to L.M.ís residence to confront L.M. He said he brought a loaded shotgun into the residence and shot L.M. in the leg during a quarrel in L.M.ís bedroom. L.M. died as a result of the gunshot. Sowsonicut admitted he acted recklessly and with extreme disregard for human life when he brought the loaded shotgun into L.M,ís bedroom.
First responders arrived at the victimís residence in Gusher, Utah, about 1:07 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2016, after receiving a 911 call saying that L.M. was a victim of a shooting at the residence. First responders attempted to stabilize the victim and eventually took him to the hospital. Acting on information provided during the investigation, FBI agents and Uintah County Search and Rescue officers found the loaded shotgun in the river beneath the Randlett Bridge.
A federal grand jury indicted Sowsonicut in January 2017 on charges of second degree murder and use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. He entered his guilty plea to a Felony Information filed Friday charging him with voluntary manslaughter.
The plea agreement includes a stipulated sentence of 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by 36 months of supervised release. The sentence is subject to the approval of the court.
Agents and officers with the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Ute tribal police participated in the investigation of the case.