One Chadron man is dead and another in custody following an early morning shooting in the 300 block of Maple Street in Chadron.
Dawes County Attorney/Coroner Vance Haug says 20-year old Ian Little Moon, also known as Sage Little Moon, has been charged with 1st-degree murder and felony use of a deadly weapon in the death of 72-year old John Martinez.
Chadron Police Chief Rick Hickstein says Little Moon, who’d been listed in early releases as a “person of interest” in the case, was taken into custody late this morning on the Pine Ridge Reservation by Oglala Sioux Dept of Public Safety officers.
Chief Hickstein says the police department dispatch center received a 911 call about 2:00 of a shooting. While officers were en route, a follow-up call said a body was present.
Hickstein says the Chadron VFD Rescue Unit was called, he was immediately contacted, and additional help was requested from the Nebraska State Patrol and the Dawes County Sheriff’s office.
A stolen van believed to have been used by Little Moon to flee Chadron was found abandoned and recovered by the Nebraska State Patrol about 6 miles northwest of Rushville on Beaver Wall Road and helped point the investigation to the reservation.
The chief says close cooperation between Chadron police, the State Patrol, the Dawes County Sheriff’s Office, and Oglala Sioux tribal law enforcement led to the relatively quick capture of Little Moon.
The last homicide in Chadron before this was in Dec 2008 when 22-year Chadron State College student Kennth Pfeiffer Jr was stabbed more than 50 times by his off-campus roommate Joseph Hotz, who was on illegal drugs at the time.
Hotz, originally from Rushville, was convicted in 2009 of multiple charges, including 2nd-degree murder, and was sentenced to 42 to 125 years in prison.
The Nebraska Supreme Court overturned the convictions 2 years later, ruling the trial judge had waited too long to deny the use of a temporary insanity defense.
Hotz accepted a plea agreement rather than go through a second trial and is currently serving 45-70 years in prison for 2nd-degree murder, attempted 2nd-degree murder, and felony use of a weapon