BILLINGS — A Birney man was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for strangling a woman to death on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in February 2018.
Randy Lee Littlebird, 36, pleaded guilty in July in U.S. District Court in Billings to second-degree murder, strangulation and domestic abuse by habitual offender, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a news release. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.
Before pleading guilty, he had faced up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine for the crimes.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters handed down the sentence.
Prosecutors said in federal court documents that Littlebird killed the victim, identified only as "Jane Doe," on Feb. 4, 2018, at their shared residence.
The two had been drinking all day. Another man in the house heard them fighting and the victim yell, "No Randy, don't, don't," followed by a scream, then silence.
The other man found the victim lying in a room near a rope, and Littlebird told him she had killed herself and he had moved the body.
Two days later, he confessed to the murder in an interview with federal agents, according to prosecutors. 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.
Nine months later, prosecutors filed charges Littlebird, who had since left town. He was arrested in North Dakota on a warrant.
Littlebird had four prior domestic abuse convictions on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, according to Alme.