Gavin Tyrone Saddle-Sutherland made his initial appearance in federal court in Great Falls in connection with the death of Shannon Dora Licht of Rocky Boy.
Sutherland was made aware of the criminal complaint of second-degree murder.
This means he has not been formally charged at this point in the death of Licht,
The government now has 30 days to bring the indictment to a grand jury, or the charges will be dismissed.
Sutherland was already in custody on charges in Cascade County District Court; those charges have been dropped due to the federal criminal complaint.
The investigation into Licht’s murder began after her body was found on Rocky Boy Indian’s Reservation on July 7th.
According to court documents, investigators conducted numerous interviews with witnesses who placed Sutherland at the victim’s house on the night she died.
Sutherland left the Rocky Boy Reservation for Spokane, Washington, the morning after the murder and could not be initially located for a statement or DNA sample, according to court documents.
He was arrested on unrelated warrants in September and extradited to Montana and agreed to speak with investigators while in custody at the Cascade County Detention Center.
In an interview with investigators, Sutherland said he choked the victim, according to court documents.
Sutherland has a criminal endangerment conviction from 2011 and a theft conviction from 2009, both in Cascade County.