BILLINGS- A Northern Cheyenne tribal member admitted Monday in federal court to strangling a woman to death at their residence on the reservation last year.
Randy Lee Littlebird, 35, changed to plea to guilty to charges of second-degree murder, strangulation and domestic abuse by habitual offender, according to court documents. His trial had been scheduled to start July 29.
Littlebird faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the murder charge, according to U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.
His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6.
Prosecutors said Littlebird and the woman were drinking all day Feb. 4, 2018, at their home in Birney, when another occupant of the house heard the woman yell, “No Randy, don’t, don’t,” then scream, which was followed by silence.
The other man in the house found the victim lying on the floor near a rope, and Littlebird told him the woman had killed herself and he moved the body, according to Alme.
Two days later, Littlebird confessed in an interview with federal agents, according to Alme. He told them he tied rope around her ankles to prevent her from leaving when he left the room. When he returned, he grabbed the rope, which was now around her neck, and strangled her.
Federal charges were filed against Littlebird nine months later on Nov. 19, 2018, although he had already left town. He was arrested Nov. 27 in North Dakota.
Littlebird has been convicted of domestic abuse on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation four previous times, according to Alme.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watter presided.