Toppenish man convicted for murdering Yakama woman on reservation
YAKIMA, Wash. – A Toppenish man was convicted of the murder of a Native American woman who was found dead in a remote section of the Yakama Nation Reservation in May of 2019.
The conviction was formally announced by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington on Friday, June 11. According to their release, Jordan Everett Stevens, a Native American man, was convicted of murder to the first degree and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Per court documents and evidence, this incident began after Stevens assaulted a woman in Toppenish around April 30, 2019. A Native woman named Alillia “Lala” Minthorn was near the location of the assault at a similar time, leading Stevens to believe she would provide information to the police.
On May 3, the Toppenish man drove his victim and two other women to a rural section of the Yakama Reservation. There, he drew a firearm and shot the victim in the head before threatening to kill the witnesses if they ever spoke about it.
A family member alerted the FBI that she was missing, which immediately sprung an investigation. KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell tracked the story extensively and spoke to the victim’s aunt, Tina Minthorn, in September 2019.
“This girl was beautiful. She was intelligent. She was loved by a lot of people, but just because of her lifestyle, that didn’t give him the right to discard her as garbage, to discard her as nothing,” T. Minthorn said. “What makes me mad is our tribe, even our laws, even the FBI has done nothing, because she’s indigenous, native, a woman, a homeless person.”
Minthorn and her family have been granted justice after more than two years. To read her full interview, click the related link below.
The trial began on July 7, 2021, though many witnesses were reluctant to testify out of fear. They were brought into the custody of U.S. Marshals, who brought them to testify in the trial. The defendant, Stevens, was deemed guilty and now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is set for September 1, 2021.
Stevens and Minthorn are both enrolled members of the Yakama Nation, which is why the investigation was conducted by the FBI and why Stevens was charged in federal court, rather than in Yakima County Superior Court.
Acting United States Attorney Joseph H. Harrington, who serves Washington’s Eastern District, offered the following comments:
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington commends the officers with the Yakama Nation Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office who investigated this case. Their seamless partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this senseless murder. Investigating and prosecuting cases involving Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person (MMIP) is a top priority of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington. This Office is committed to prosecuting aggressively cases involving violent acts committed against Native American women who reside on Reservation lands within this District.”
FBI Special Agent Donald M. Voiret, who is in charge of the Seattle Field Office, reaffirmed the FBI’s dedication to bringing justice for victims of crimes on Native reservations.
“Too often, violence on the reservation results in the tragic and senseless loss of life,” Voiret said. “The FBI is committed to combatting crime on our state’s reservations. Stevens will have the rest of his life in prison to contemplate his choices.”
RECENT NEWS HEADLINES FROM THE KAPP-KVEW NEWS STAFF:
- Three-car accident claims Richland passenger’s life
- Yakima victims chased, fired at 11 times in fatal shooting
- Man wins $250K, 129 other Washingtonians claim vaccine prizes
- Dayton fire causes Highway 12 detours, local businesses power through
COPYRIGHT 2021 BY YAKTRINEWS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.