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Life Sentence For Reservation Murder

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A Pine Ridge Reservation man will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for killing a man on the reservation near Sharps Corner in 2017.

A federal jury had found 30-year old Clarence Yellow Hawk guilty earlier this year of 1st-degree murder in the death of 42-year old Chris Janis of Vermillion.

Judge Jeffrey Viken also gave Yellow Hawk 10 years for firing a weapon while committing a violent crime and is considering a prosecution request for $29,000 restitution to the Janis family.

Yellow Hawk is the last of 3 men sentenced in connection with the murder. Jamie Shoulders is serving 25 years for 2nd-degree murder and Scott Benson 10 years as an accessory after the fact for helping the other 2 flee the scene.

Prosecutors say Yellow Hawk, Shoulders, and Benson had met up with Janis to buy prescription pain pills, but Shoulders shot him twice through the car window. He dropped the gun and Yellow Hawk picked it up and shot Janis 5 more times.