The Ranger (beta)

Fremont County's Daily Newspaper

News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

Ranger Login

Murder convict sentenced for June 9 stabbing attack

Feb 28, 2014 - From staff reports

Dean Moss killed Dwight Spoonhunter with a kitchen knife.

A Fremont County man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for second-degree murder in the June 9 stabbing death of Dwight Spoonhunter on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

After his imprisonment, Dean Moss, 26, also will serve five years of supervised release.

He has been in custody since last summer, when he was accused of stabbing Spoonhunter four to six times with a large kitchen knife.

Five witnesses said Spoonhunter, 28, had stopped Moss from assaulting Moss's ex-girlfriend several hours before Spoonhunter died. Later, Moss found the woman with Spoonhunter and attacked Spoonhunter, then fled the scene.

An autopsy found Spoonhunter suffered stab wounds to his right temple, right cheek, right shoulder, right chest and both sides of his upper back, according to reports. An investigation into the incident found both of Spoonhunter's lungs had been punctured. He died from blood loss due to the multiple stab wounds.

Both men are enrolled members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Case details

At 7:43 a.m. June 9, the Wind River Police Department received a report of a stabbing at 331 Great Plains Housing in Arapahoe, according to an affidavit by FBI special agent David Donati.

Witnesses at the scene said Moss had stabbed Spoonhunter. Responding officers said they found Spoonhunter lying on the floor next to a mattress in the home's basement. Spoonhunter did not have a pulse and was lying in a pool of blood.

An ambulance transported Spoonhunter to Riverton Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:38 a.m.

Donnelle Little Shield told Donati she had been in a relationship with Moss since 2005, but on the evening of June 8 she had told Moss she wanted to break up.

She said she was drinking alcohol June 8 and did not remember details of the day, but she knew she ended up at 331 Great Plains.

Matthew Whiteplume was at 331 Great Plains early June 9 when he heard Moss yelling outside. Whiteplume said he saw Moss stomp on Little Shield's face as she was lying on a wheel chair ramp on the front of the building. The witness also saw Moss cut off the prone woman's hair with a pocketknife.

Spoonhunter saw what Moss was doing, Whiteplume said, and told Moss to leave. Whiteplume said Moss replied with something like "What, I can't scalp her?" and then Spoonhunter beat up Moss and took away the knife.

Loren Shakespeare told Donati he also saw Moss assault Little Shield on the wheelchair ramp early June 9.

Shakespeare said Spoonhunter told Moss that Spoonhunter would not allow Moss to hit a woman, Shakespeare said. Shakespeare said he heard yelling and then saw that Spoonhunter had Moss down on the ground.

Little Shield remembered being injured at about dawn June 9, but she didn't know how she suffered the injuries. When he interviewed her, Donati said he observed abrasions and bruising on Little Shield's face and lacerations on her head and fingers.

An unidentified juvenile joined Little Shield in the basement room at about 6 a.m. June 9. The two smoked and talked while the juvenile sat on a chair and Little Shield sat on a mattress where Spoonhunter slept. As the two talked, Moss "burst into the basement" and approached Little Shield. Moss said something like, "Oh, you're messing around with him."

The juvenile said Moss suddenly stabbed Spoonhunter four to six times with a large, silver-bladed, black-handled kitchen knife. Moss ran upstairs after the stabbing.

According to Little Shield, Moss came into the basement and said, "Is this who you're sleeping with now?" referring to Spoonhunter, but she said she ran upstairs without seeing more.

Shakespeare said he heard screaming from the basement on the morning of June 9. He ran downstairs and saw Moss holding a knife and Spoonhunter standing by the end of the mattress. Spoonhunter was bleeding from his chest, and Shakespeare said Spoonhunter reached for support from a pole and then collapsed.

Shakespeare's brother Edd Shakespeare said he saw Moss leave the residence carrying a knife with a silver blade and black handle. In a field between 331 and 20 Great Plains, law enforcement found a knife matching the description with a substance that appeared to be blood on it.

Officers arrested Moss at 8:02 a.m. at 20 Great Plains, about 100 yards from 331 Great Plains.