Mitchum Scott Turpin, Tilmon Gene Fortner, and Kasey Lynn Keffer, all of Sylva, have pleaded guilty in federal court in Asheville to one count each of Robbery before the Honorable Dennis J. Howell. The maximum punishment faced by each defendant is 15 years’ imprisonment.
Lead Tribal Prosecutor and Special Assistant United States Attorney Justin Eason said, “In this case, all of the defendants had lengthy criminal histories in both state and federal court. These non-enrolled criminals came onto the Boundary and robbed a tribal elder. We are confident that the lengthy federal sentences that each of these defendants will receive should serve as a warning to anyone who would attempt to come onto the Boundary and try to victimize tribal members.”
He added, “The federal courts provide an unparalleled forum for the administration of justice, and it is the obligation of the Prosecutor’s Office to combat such offenses with every tool available to us in order to protect the Tribe and its members. The Special Assistant United States Attorney status agreement allows for serious cases such as this to receive prioritization and attention from start to finish. In this case, we were able to secure convictions less than three months after the date of offense. I would especially like to recognize the diligence and professionalism displayed by our Tribal Police in the investigation of this case, and to thank Det. Sgt. Daniel Iadonisi for his efforts in seeing this case through. His swift and thorough investigation provided everything necessary to secure justice for our victim and our Tribe.”
Sentencing for the defendants shall be set at a date to be determined.
– EBCI Office of the Tribal Prosecutor