Published On: Mon, Jun 20th, 2011

Tribal Members sentenced in Federal Court

U.S. ATTORNEY BRIEFS

 

Laney sentenced to 47 months for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

 

     BRYSON CITY – U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina announced on Monday, June 20 that Gracie Walker Laney, 37, a resident of Swain County and an EBCI tribal member, was sentenced on Wednesday, June 15, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger to serve 47 months in federal prison for the sexual abuse of a minor, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

     U.S. Attorney Tompkins was joined in making the announcement by Chief Ben Reed, of the Cherokee Indian Police Department.

     On June 1, 2010, a federal grand jury returned a thirteen-count criminal indictment charging Laney with knowingly engaging and attempting to engage in a sexual act with four individuals who had each attained the age of 12 years but had not attained the age of 16 years, and who were at least 4 years younger than the defendant. Laney entered a plea of guilty on July 28, 2010.

     Laney has been in local federal custody in the Western District of North Carolina since her arrest in June 2010. Upon designation of a federal facility, she will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

Hicks sentenced to Time Served on Firearm Possession

 

     In a separate case, a Cherokee man was sentenced for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In August 2010, a federal grand jury indicted Billy Jack Hicks, 38, of Whittier and an EBCI tribal member, on one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in Jackson County.

     The firearm was a Smith and Wesson .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. Hicks entered a plea of guilty on November 24, 2010. He was sentenced on Wednesday, June 15 by Judge Reidinger to time served to be followed by two years of supervised release.

     Hicks, who has been in local federal custody in the Western District of North Carolina since his plea hearing, will serve four months of home detention at the beginning of his two years of supervised release. Joining U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement is Sheriff Curtis Cochran, of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office.

     The investigation of Laney was led by the Cherokee Indian Police Department. The investigation of Hicks was handled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with the assistance of the Swain County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution of both defendants was handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.

– U.S. Attorney’s Office

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