A Poplar man has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison and two years supervised release after he admitted to beating another man to death in 2017 on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Errol Wayne Longee, 35, was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Brian Morris in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. Longee is also required to pay $2,816 restitution as part of his sentence.
Longee admitted in October to killing 41-year-old Patrick Wayne Mitchell after the two had been drinking into the early hours of July 1, 2017. He was initially charged in federal court with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
After Longee and Mitchell had been drinking for several hours in the backyard of a Poplar residence where Mitchell was staying, they were joined by a woman who accused Mitchell of having sexually abused her when she was younger, according to prosecutors.
The woman "became upset and began punching" Mitchell in the face while he was sitting on the ground, court documents state. Longee then approached the victim and began repeatedly hitting, kicking and stomping on him.
According to witnesses and an admission that Longee later provided to police, Longee had repeatedly stomped and on the victim's face and head, and punched the victim at least 10 times, prosecutors said.
Longee then left the scene and later told a relative, "I think I killed my brother," according to court documents.
An autopsy found that Mitchell died from multiple blunt force injuries and neck compression. Both Longee and Mitchell were enrolled members of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Longee was initially charged with murder in Fort Peck Tribal Court along with three other defendants, but was the only person charged in the federal indictment in April.
He faced a maximum of life in prison for the original charge of second-degree murder. Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.