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Man charged with felony for alleged beating of child

Nov 6, 2013 - From staff reports

A 22-year-old Northern Arapaho man has been charged with felony child abuse by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming.

Robert Felter Jr. was arrested in September for attacking a girl June 20 in Indian Country. He could face up to five years in prison, three years of unsupervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.

Complaint

The Wind River Police Department responded at about 1 p.m. June 20 to a report of a child being assaulted at a home on Blue Sky Highway in Ethete. When officers arrived at the scene, they saw Rochelle Addison comforting her daughter, who displayed bruising and red marks on the left side of her head.

Addison said "Robert beat her up," referring to the girl.

Felter was standing nearby, bleeding from the nose and mouth. The left side of his face was swollen, and he appeared to be intoxicated. He told officers he had been assaulted by Ronan White Plume, who also was present at the scene. White Plume told officers, "I beat him up. He hurt (the girl)."

Emergency medical responders arrived at the scene and treated the girl for her injuries, which included bruising around her left eye and the left side of her face as well as bruising around her right eye.

She was transported to the emergency room at Lander Regional Hospital for further treatment.

Felter was placed under arrest that day on tribal charges of child abuse, aggravated assault and abduction. He also was transported to the emergency room at LRH for treatment.

Interviews

Later that afternoon, investigators interviewed Addison, who said she had been in the restroom at her house when she heard her daughter's muffled crying in the living room. Addison walked toward the room and told her son to take the trash out, but she didn't think anymore about her daughter's crying.

A short time later, Addison said she heard her daughter screaming. She went to check on the girl and saw the child holding her hand over her face, according to court documents. Reportedly, The girl told Addison, "Mom, I am going to have a black eye. ... I can't breathe. ... Little Rob beat me up."

Addison said Felter is known as "Little Rob" and was staying at the residence temporarily along with his father, "Big Rob," who was in the process of a divorce.

When Addison confronted Felter about the assault, she said he lunged at her, and White Plume intervened. Addison said Felter attempted to strike White Plume, and they started fighting.

Next, investigators spoke with the girl involved in the assault. She said she was in the room with Felter when she attempted to leave to talk to her mother. Felter stopped her from leaving, holding his hands over her mouth and nose; the girl said she was not able to breathe. The complaint alleges that Felter told her to "shut up," and the girl said she believed Felter wanted her to die. Her interview was terminated at that point.

In a later interview, the girl said Felter grabbed her in the mid-chest area and put her on his bed. She said Felter "got on her" and put his hand on her neck, covering her mouth. She said she felt like she was going to die; Felter reportedly was choking her and covering her mouth and did not want her to breathe. She said he told her to "shut up" and "be quiet."

During his interview, the girl's brother said he saw Felter punching her on a bed in the living room. The boy than told Felter to stop and threatened to grab a broom, but Felter told him to "shut up" and continued punching the girl. It appeared to the boy that his sister couldn't breathe. The boy said he used some rope and grabbed Felter's hand in an attempt to stop the assault, but Felter pushed him away.

The attack reportedly lasted about five or seven minutes, during which time Felter struck the girl in the face, arm and ribs nine or 10 times. Medical records confirmed the witness and victim statements concerning the girl's injuries.

Felter was interviewed Aug. 20 at Addison's house. He said he had been drinking Potter's Premium Vodka on the night of the alleged attack, and at the time of the incident he was very intoxicated.

He said he had blacked out during the incident and "came to" when he was struck in the face by White Plume. Felter said he remembered joking around with his nephews and nieces earlier in the day. He said he had heard that he had spanked the girl during the incident, and he didn't have any other information or recollections to provide.

Court

Felter's initial appearance in court took place Aug. 27. He waived his right to a detention hearing and a preliminary examination and received a new indictment Sept. 26.

The document states that Felter intentionally and recklessly inflicted physical injury upon his victim, who is at least six years his junior.

Felter pleaded guilty to the charge Oct. 9, when officials determined he would be detained until his jury trial, set for Nov. 18 in Casper.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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