27-year-old Tyson Lonebear pleaded not guilty last week to the stabbing death of 21-year-old Chay Little on May 18.  He entered his plea in Northern Cheyenne Tribal Court.  Tribal officials issued a warrant for Lonebear, and Big Horn County Sheriff’s arrested him in Hardin late that same day.
Northern Cheyenne’s judicial system has a speedy trial doctrine that provides a six-month window for a trial, and the court holds criminal jury trials every three months.  By the court’s schedule, a jury trial could be set for August.  Lonebear is being held in the tribe’s adult detention facility on a $5,000 bond. That’s the maximum bond the tribe can set under federal law.

 

However, the Northern Cheyenne tribal code allows judges to deny a suspect’s release on bail or bond.  The maximum sentence for tribal courts is one year for a Class A felony.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana can pick up tribal cases.