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Witness dispute in tribal member's murder trial

A member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe who is on trial for abusing and murdering his 22-month- old daughter is questioning the key witness against him -- the mother of the child.

Andrew Yellowbear says the mother Macalia Blackburn is unfit to testify. Blackburn suffers from psychological conditions -- including post-traumatic stress disorder and battered woman syndrome -- that call into question her competency, his lawyers say.

Yellowbear and Blackburn were both charged with the death of Marcella Hope Yellowbear. Blackburn pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and agreed to testify against Yellowbear.

The trial is taking place in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The judge ordered a change in venue on the grounds that anti-Indian bias and bias among members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe could taint the jury.

Get the Story:
Evaluation sought for possible witness (AP 10/19)
Lawyers question witness's status (The Casper Star-Tribune 10/18)

Related Stories:
Judge agrees to move tribal member's murder trial (08/23)