GREAT FALLS — Jo Anne Sayetsitty of Fort Kipp, suspected in the death of a man hit by a vehicle on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, was arraigned in federal court in Great Falls on March 15, 2022.
The indictment alleges that on August 22, 2019, near Fort Kipp, Sayetsitty, upon a "sudden quarrel or heat of passion, with extreme disregard for human life, recklessly and unlawfully killed the victim" by striking him and running over him with her vehicle.
The man is identified only as "John Doe" in the court documents.
U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said in a news release that Sayetsitty pleaded not guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston presided and scheduled the trial to begin on May 17, 2022. If convicted, Sayetsitty faces up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
Sayetsitty, 34 years old, was released pending further proceedings.
The news release notes that the indictment is an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared Cobell and Wendy Johnson are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Fort Peck Tribal Law Enforcement.