A woman has pleaded guilty to murdering her stepfather last year in Wanblee by hitting him in the head with a tire iron. 

Krystin Esther Spotted Calf pleaded guilty on Friday at the federal courthouse in Rapid City to the second-degree murder of Jeffrey Lynn Janis, Sr., according to court records. The crime can be punished by up to life in prison. 

Prosecutors will recommend the judge sentence Spotted Calf within the sentencing guidelines, which are based on factors including the nature of the crime, past criminal history, and any aggravating or mitigating factors, according to the plea deal. Spotted Calf will also have to pay restitution for killing Jeff Sr. and attacking his son, Jeff Jr. 

Spotted Calf killed Jeff Sr. with a tire iron on Aug. 11, 2018, according to the factual basis document she signed. She hit him in the head, causing brain damage, blunt force trauma, skull fractures and multiple cuts. Spotted Calf then attacked Jeff Jr., injuring his head and scalp. 

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Jeff Sr. is Spotted Calf's stepfather, according to a search warrant affidavit signed by a special agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Spotted Calf, Jeff Sr., Jeff Jr. and a friend were drinking early in the morning of Aug. 11 at Jeff Sr.'s house in Wanblee. Spotted Calf and Jeff Sr. began to argue and she agreed to leave after he told her to do so. 

Spotted Calf told the agent she was angry with her stepfather so she grabbed a metal jack handle from a vehicle on the property and used it to break windows on vehicles in the driveway, the affidavit says. She said Jeff Sr. approached her outside and they scuffled before she hit him in the head multiple times. 

Spotted Calf's friend confirmed this narrative in an interview with an FBI special agent, according to the affidavit. After Spotted Calf attacked Jeff Sr., the friend said, she came back into the house covered in blood and began attacking Jeff Jr. 

Spotted Calf called 911 at 5:32 a.m. and after efforts to save Jeff. Sr failed, he was pronounced dead at 6:29 a.m., the affidavit says. Law enforcement found a metal object near the home with dried blood on it. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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