For Immediate Release
St. Francis Man Indicted for Assault and Firearm Charges
Acting United States Attorney Dennis Holmes announced that a St. Francis, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Assaulting, Resisting, and Impeding a Federal Officer and Using and Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.
Willard Henry, Jr., age 40, was indicted on March 11, 2021. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on March 12, 2021, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, seven years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The Indictment alleges that on February 3, 2021, in Todd County, South Dakota, Henry assaulted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, and interfered with multiple law enforcement officers who were employed by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services, and that such conduct involved the use of a firearm.
The charges are merely accusations and Henry is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
The investigation is being conducted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Albertson is prosecuting the case.
Henry was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not been set.