KAMIAH, Idaho (KLIX)-A Kamiah man will spend 19 years behind federal prison bars for the beating death of his 28-year-old girlfriend in 2020. U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez Jr., announced this week the sentencing of Travis Dewayne Ellenwood, 44, on a second degree murder charge. Ellenwood, in October of 2020, beat and strangled to death his girlfriend Bessie Blackeagle. The young woman's death has had a wide ranging impact on the Nez Perce tribal community, according to U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. Blackeagle spoke the Nez Perce language fluently and knew the tribes customs and traditions well. “Ms. Blackeagle’s murder is a tragic reminder of the danger Native American women face in the community,” said U.S. Attorney Gonzalez in a statement. “Generations of Native Americans have experienced violence or mourned a missing or murdered family member or loved one, and the lasting impacts of such tragedies are felt throughout the country. Native Americans face unacceptably high levels of violence, and are victims of violent crime at a rate much higher than the national average. Native American women, in particular, are disproportionately the victims of sexual and gender-based violence, including intimate partner homicide. Our focus remains centered on refining coordination between our office and our tribal partners so that no family must endure this kind of heartbreak in the future.” Ellenwood pleaded guilty to the charge last fall and was also sentenced to five years supervised release; he will also have to pay a $2,500 fine. He maintains he was too drunk to remember what happened when he killed Blackeagle, according to the U.S. Attorney.

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