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Closing arguments made in trial against Heart Butte woman

Attorneys presented their closing arguments Wednesday morning in the trial against a Heart Butte woman.

Shayanna England has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in the death of Eljay Young Running Crane, who died in January 2018 in Heart Butte after England struck him with a car.

The Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery Starnes started his closing argument by stating that on the night of January 15th and in the early morning hours of the 16th, a series of bad decisions were made.

He broke down the events and the differences in the testimonies of the two witnesses and England.

Starnes said Tayleigh Calf Boss Ribs and Julian Calfrobe told the court everyone was drinking throughout the night, but England said she was not.

Calf Boss Ribs and Calfrobe said they were at Young Running Crane’s aunt’s home once that night, but England said they were there twice, according to Starnes.

Starnes said the facts are that England was drinking some amount of alcohol and she was driving 90 miles per hour down BIA Route 1 while leaving Heart Butte.

Starnes said Young Running Crane was standing in the middle of the road, and that England said in her testimony he was waving his arms.

Starnes said England said she was going fast, and even Calf Boss Ribs testified to that as well.

Starnes continued that once England called 911, her story evolved from not knowing if she hit someone, to not knowing who it was, to going into a ditch to avoid someone. England then told officers she hit some ice and lost traction.

Starnes went on to say England took other people’s lives into her own hands by going 90 miles per hour in a residential area with a speed limit of 35. He mentioned Calf Boss Ribs suffered a burst fracture of a lumbar spine due to her actions and she has been in pain since the crash.

He added that if she went any other speed, they would not be sitting in court.

Defense attorney Andrew Huff stated the events came down to an abusive relationship. England was afraid of Young Running Crane, even though she still cared for him, he said.

Huff argued England stopped drinking that night because Young Running Crane was getting upset.

Huff said Young Running Crane was trying to control England and wanted to fight other people who were contacting her.

He said that when England left Young Running Crane’s aunt’s home, she was afraid and was driving fast to get away from Heart Butte.

England started to slow down when coming to the intersection as that’s when Young Running Crane jumped in front of the car, according to Huff.

Huff also said Calf Boss Ribs was able to leave the car by herself and without England’s help.

Huff said the crash was a tragedy, but not of England’s making.

Starnes responded to the defense’s argument by stating it was a character assassination of the victim.

Starnes went on to say the defense brought up an incident that occurred about three years ago and England had not seen Young Running Crane since that time.

He said Young Running Crane did not know where England was going after she left his aunt’s home and that he was not threatening her. There was no reason for England to be scared that night, Starnes said.

England chose to make the choices she did that night, he argued.

The case is now in the hands of the jury.

Margaret DeMarco

Margaret DeMarco

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