Man sentenced in Porcupine manslaughter case

(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 3:54 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - A man who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter was sentenced in federal court Monday. Trey New Holy was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, with three years of supervised release after he has served his time.

New Holy pleaded guilty in February to killing Farron Respects Nothing with a 2x4 in September of 2022.

In his factual statement, New Holy stated that he and Respects Nothing were drinking with others on the night of the incident. A fight between New Holy and Respects Nothing happened after Respects Nothing placed New Holy in a headlock. After getting out of the headlock, New Holy grabbed a 2x4 piece of wood and struck Respects Nothing in the head. New Holy continued to hit the victim in the head even after the victim fell to the ground, unconscious. Due to the assault, Respects Nothing was bleeding extensively from the head and body.

The next morning, New Holy had heard Respects Nothing moaning and according to New Holy, the victim was saying ‘Help me’. Instead of helping Respects Nothing, New Holy left with a friend to go to a liquor store. After leaving the scene, 911 was called by other bystanders still at the scene. Respects Nothing’s cause of death was blood loss, after having multiple lacerations to his head, face, and abdomen.

New Holy’s defense attorney objected to this being an aggravated assault, saying that under federal law, the victim has to be vulnerable. She said that to be considered vulnerable they either need to be too young, too old, mentally or physically disabled. This objection was overruled by Judge Jeffrey Viken. Viken also said that virtually every homicide case has one or both parties under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so the victim would always be vulnerable.

According to New Holy’s pre-sentencing advisory guidelines, it was recommended that he receive 10 to 13 years in federal prison.

Before being sentenced, the court heard witness statements from the defense, New Holy, and his family, as well as the family of Respects Nothing.

New Holy’s attorney stated that he experienced trauma as a child, after his father killed his sister, and his mother was physically and mentally abusive toward him. She went on to say that he had no good influences in his life but tried his best to be a better person. After becoming an alcoholic and meth addict, he was able to get some mental help, but it wasn’t enough.

In his own words, New Holy stated that he feels bad for what he did, but he can’t change the past, he can only become better in the future. He went on to say that he wishes he could change places with Respects Nothing, saying he was a good soul and a great father and friend to those around him. After saying that New Holy will take whatever sentence he gets, Viken reminded New Holy that nothing, in this case, is a death sentence and that New Holy should live to get out.

Respects Nothing’s family members also spoke at the sentencing. Respects Nothing’s mother said that she did the best she could and that she thought the reservation was a safe place, but was proved wrong. She went on to say that New Holy owes her and Respects Nothing’s kids a life, saying 15 years is not enough. She also said that she believes that others were involved in this killing and New Holy should tell the truth about what really happened. In her anger, she said that this was an incompetent investigation and that New Holy should tell the truth about that night, then take his own life.

Other members of Respects Nothing’s family also made statements, mostly commenting about the investigation and the possible other people they believe to be involved.

Before sentencing, Viken said that he did not have an answer for the families of Respects Nothing, saying that the issues of violence on the reservation are up to the people of the reservation to fix, saying law enforcement and the courts can only deal with the consequences, not the cause. Viken said to New Holy that not asking or calling for help was extremely heinous and unusually cruel. Viken did give some credit to New Holy for not making excuses about the incident, going on to say that New Holy needs to be rehabilitated and get the treatment he needs.