Lucille White Dress, Emily Bluebird’s mother, believes her daughter can now rest in peace.
On Friday, two-and-a-half years after Bluebird was found dead near a creek on the Pine Ridge reservation, the woman who admitted strangling her was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Elizabeth Ann LeBeau, 25, of Pine Ridge, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by aiding and abetting, as well as being an accessory to second-degree murder. She admitted strangling Bluebird, 24, using a cord and with the assistance of her boyfriend, Fred Quiver, while they were at home drinking with Bluebird sometime around Jan. 2, 2016.
LeBeau said also that she struck Bluebird in the head with a hammer multiple times. Afterward, she helped Quiver get rid of evidence in the killing, including pouring bleach on Bluebird and burning their clothes.
The couple hid the body underneath their home for about two weeks before moving it near the creek. It was discovered Jan. 21 in a search Bluebird’s family organized. Her death left a 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy without a mother.
At the Rapid City federal courthouse on Friday afternoon, LeBeau apologized to Bluebird’s family and said she hoped they could one day forgive her. LeBeau said she experienced domestic abuse at Quiver’s hands while at the same time suffering from a drug and alcohol problem.
A clinical psychologist who had examined LeBeau said she had a number of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder that could have led to her violent behavior. LeBeau, a mother of three, was reportedly abused emotionally, physically and sexually by family members as a child.
Bluebird’s aunt, Carla Cheyenne, said PTSD was not an excuse to commit murder. “It was an act of violence in the most evil way,” she told U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jeffrey Viken.
Soon after Bluebird went missing, LeBeau and Quiver went to Bluebird’s family, asking about her. “It’s incredibly cruel,” Viken said, adding these were actions done to throw suspicion off the couple.
Viken sentenced LeBeau to 25 years for murder and 15 years for accessory to murder. The sentences will be served at the same time, followed by five years of supervised release.
In May, Quiver was sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to being an accessory to second-degree murder. He is being held at a Bureau of Prison transit facility in Oklahoma City.
Bluebird’s mother, White Dress, had been hoping LeBeau would get more prison time but was satisfied with the sentence.
“She’ll be old when she gets out. She’ll have to face Emily’s kids,” White Dress said. “I’m glad it’s over now. She can rest in peace.”