A Culbertson man who admitted to strangling a woman during an argument in a vehicle on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in September 2018 was sentenced on June 20 to 22 months in prison and to two years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Elijah Blaine Eagleman, 24, pleaded guilty to strangulation in March.
U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
Prosecutors said evidence would show that on Sept. 8, 2018, Eagleman hit and strangled the victim near Browning, on the Blackfeet Reservation. The victim lost consciousness after Eagleman choked her with his left forearm and does not recall being hit in the face by Eagleman. The victim said in a statement that the two of them had been arguing.
A law enforcement officer responded after a woman reported to law enforcement that she had stopped at a domestic assault at the intersection of U.S. Highways 2 and 89, at the Y, near Browning. She said a man was on top of a woman, who appeared to be trying to wave her down. The officer approached the vehicle and saw that the victim, who was the driver, had fresh bruises on her face and was crying. The victim was treated at the Indian Health Service and released the next morning.
In an interview with an agent, the victim said Eagleman had wrapped his forearm around her neck and pulled her backward into his seat, choking her. The agent observed injuries to the victim’s face and neck as being consistent with a strangulation assault.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Blackfeet Tribal Police.