February 4, 2015

Eagle Butte Woman Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Jordyn Blue Coat, a/k/a Jordyn Swan, age 21, of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, appeared before District Judge Roberto A. Lange on February 2, 2015, and pled guilty to Second Degree Murder of a child.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in custody, five years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

The conviction stems from an incident that occurred on October 17, 2014, when Blue Coat was the caretaker of a 20-month old child. According to Blue Coat, in the last two months of the child’s life, he frequently cried and was hard to console. The evening of October 17, the child had a messy diaper, which Blue Coat changed and temporarily left on the bedroom floor near the child, while she stepped out to use the restroom. When she returned, the child had gotten ahold of the dirty diaper and had feces all over his clothes and himself. At this time, Blue Coat became angry, lost control of her emotions and kicked the child in the head. The kick pushed the child’s head into a television stand in the bedroom. As a result, the child was unconscious and his head began to swell from the injury he received. After spending some time trying to awaken the child, Blue Coat took him to the emergency room at the Indian Health Services (IHS) Hospital in Eagle Butte.

Blue Coat told hospital medical providers that the child had “fallen two days ago in the park” and hit his head. She did not provide an accurate medical history. The child was unresponsive at the hospital. Additionally, there was swelling around the child’s left ear, eyes were swollen shut, and there was a large burn injury to the leg. The child also had multiple chronic and acute burn injuries throughout his body. Doctors at IHS immediately suspected the child had a closed head injury and air evacuated him to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where emergency medical personnel worked on him for four hours. The child died in the emergency room on October 18, 2014.

The autopsy report listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head that caused acute subdural hemorrhaging and led to bilateral cerebral brain failure. The autopsy also revealed multiple burns, contusions, abrasions, and injuries to the child’s head, face, and feet, along with old and recent bone fractures.

The parties stipulated and agreed that Blue Coat had malice aforethought when she unlawfully kicked the child in the head causing his death.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Dakota Department of Social Services, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikal Hanson.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for April 27, 2015. Blue Coat was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.