Two sentenced in beating deathU.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced Chelsey P. Amyotte, 18, and Justin R. Beston, 28, both of Dunseith, N.D., were sentenced Monday before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Daniel L. Hovland for the beating death of 49-year-old Danielle Baker.
U.S. Attorney Drew H. Wrigley announced Chelsey P. Amyotte, 18, and Justin R. Beston, 28, both of Dunseith, N.D., were sentenced Monday before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Daniel L. Hovland for the beating death of 49-year-old Danielle Baker.
Amyotte was found guilty by a federal jury on Sept. 12, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Hovland sentenced Amyotte to serve three years and 10 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Amyotte was ordered to pay restitution jointly and severally in the amount of $6,500 and to pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund.
Beston pleaded guilty on Aug. 28 to second-degree murder. Hovland sentenced Beston to serve 15 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Beston was ordered to pay restitution jointly and severally in the amount of $6,500 and to pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund.
On Nov. 4, 2007, a party was held at Baker’s residence in East Dunseith Housing on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. The party began in the late afternoon and approximately 10 to 12 guests were drinking, visiting and listening to music, Wrigley said. Amyotte and Beston were among the guests at the party and were in a dating relationship at the time. Baker was also interested in Beston, and witnesses reported that this situation had caused some friction between the two co-defendants and the victim in the past.
In the early evening Baker told party attendees she was going into her bedroom to lie down, and asked people to watch her house while she rested. A short time after Baker walked down the hallway toward her bedroom, Amyotte and Beston followed. Shortly thereafter, Amyotte and Beston re-emerged from Baker’s bedroom and left the residence.
Baker was later found dead in the bedroom, Wrigley said. An autopsy indicated that she had been beaten and that she had suffered a torn vertebral artery and severed brain stem.
“The poor judgment and the viciousness of these two defendants is absolutely appalling,” Wrigley said. “I’m always asked, ‘What’s the message of your cases?’ Well, don’t resort to violence to solve your disputes. And don’t blame your mindless irreversible actions on the fact that you chose to go out and get drunk. A woman in the prime of life is dead and the two people who attacked her, they’re heading off to federal prison. There is not a party on earth that’s worth all of that. My thoughts and my prayers are with Ms. Baker and her loved ones.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Indian Affairs Turtle Mountain Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Hagler and Brandi Sasse Russell prosecuted the case.