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Ponemah man pleads guilty to second-degree murder

A Ponemah man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder after violently assaulting a woman in the Red Lake Nation in November 2019.

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RED LAKE, Minn. -- A Ponemah, Minnesota, man pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Oct. 19, to second-degree murder after violently assaulting a woman in the Red Lake Nation in November 2019.

According to court documents, in 2019, William Jones IV, 24, and the victim were involved in a romantic relationship and lived together at the victim’s house in Ponemah. During the evening of Nov. 6, 2019, Jones repeatedly assaulted the victim in their residence, hitting her on the shoulders, arms and torso, and throwing her against a wall.

After the assault, the victim fell to the floor and struck her head. Jones did not contact emergency personnel or attempt to render aid. The victim remained in the house unconscious for almost two days, where Jones chose not to contact emergency personnel or otherwise render any aid to the victim, documents said.

Court documents explain that on Nov. 8, 2019, Jones’s mother contacted emergency personnel after arriving at the house and observing the victim’s condition. The victim was transported to the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, where medical personnel determined that the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, which caused her to remain in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery. As a result of her injuries, the victim died on Nov. 22, 2019.

“This defendant not only perpetrated an extremely violent assault on his victim, but he also showed complete disregard for human life when he failed to seek medical aid,” Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk said in a release. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting those who commit horrific acts of domestic violence such as this, which disproportionately plague Native American women.”

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Jones pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder before U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force.

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