The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls on October 1, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, Terra Lee Brandy Running Crane, a 27-year-old resident of Browning and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe, appeared for sentencing. Running Crane was sentenced to a term of:
■Prison: 57 months
■Special assessment: $100
■Supervised release: three years
Running Crane was sentenced after a federal district court trial in which she was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
On November 22, 2011, Running Crane floored her green Tahoe directly into a male individual, identified hereafter as “the victim,” as he stood outside a house in Browning, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. An eyewitness testified that Running Crane was the driver of the vehicle that accelerated into the victim. Running Crane’s boyfriend then hopped in the passenger seat, and they sped off. The victim was left bleeding as he tried to lift himself out of a window at the house that the car ejected him through. Others inside rushed out to help him. He suffered fractures in his ankle, requiring the placement of two skews and a painful skin graft on his back. The Tahoe was later found abandoned in a ditch on the reservation.
Before Running Crane hit and injured the victim, she had been drinking inside with the victim and other individuals. The victim recalled Running Crane’s boyfriend getting tough and aggressive with him. The victim told Running Crane and her boyfriend to leave. The victim, defendant, and her boyfriend all went outside. The victim was chasing off the boyfriend when he was run into by Running Crane driving a green Tahoe. The victim described Running Crane as gunning the car over the sidewalk to strike him.
The victim saw a lot of blood coming from his left arm. His leg was pinned to the wall, and his body went through the window. The vehicle backed up. After being struck, the victim faded in and out of consciousness and stopped breathing at several points. Another individual came to the victim’s aid, kept him awake, and covered him with a blanket. The victim’s injuries included a fractured ankle—requiring surgery, and approximately 34 stitches/staples. He was given potent pain medication. The victim’s injuries also necessitated a skin graft on his back.
The owner of the house and the victim’s sister testified that she looked out a bedroom window and saw a dark green Chevy Tahoe back away from the window. Running Crane was in the driver’s seat. The car was on the curb in front of the residence when Running Crane backed up the Tahoe. Running Crane’s boyfriend was in the passenger seat of the vehicle as it backed away. The victim was on the ground; he tried to get up but could not lift himself. He was bleeding heavily from his left side. Neighbors called 911.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura B. Weiss prosecuted the case for the United States.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that Running Crane will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Running Crane does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for “good behavior.” However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.