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Cherokee Man sentenced to 14 Years for Second Degree Murder in Indian Country

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A Cherokee, N.C. man convicted of second degree murder was sentenced to 168 months in prison today, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Yalegwo Ki Sadongei, 21, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

Michael C. Scherck, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Chief Carla Neadeau of the Cherokee Indian Police Department join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court records and court proceedings, on December 13, 2019, Sadongei and the victim were at the residence of a family member of the victim, located on the Qualla Boundary within Indian Country. Over the course of the evening, Sadongei and the victim argued before Sadongei shot the victim in the chest and the victim died as a result of the gunshot wound. Court records show that, after shooting the victim, Sadongei fled the scene, then visited the home of another member of the victim’s family to explain his version of what happened. On the way, he attempted to dispose of the firearm. Law enforcement later recovered the firearm Sadongei used to shoot the victim, a Hi-Point 9mm handgun, and a magazine.

Sadongei is in federal custody. He will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney King thanked the FBI and the Cherokee Indian Police Department for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pritchard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

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