Cherokee man charged in wife’s murder from 10 years ago

Cherokee man charged in wife’s murder from 10 years ago

A Swain County man is facing a federal charge for allegedly killing his wife in 2013, announced Dena J. King U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

Ernest D. Pheasant, Sr., 46, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), is charged with one count of first-degree murder in Indian Country. Pheasant made his initial court appearance on Monday, April 8, 2024, before U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf. 

According to allegations in the indictment, on Dec. 29, 2013, Pheasant killed his spouse, Marie Walkingstick Pheasant, and did so willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation. The indictment alleges that the murder occurred on the Qualla Boundary within Indian Country.

Pheasant remains in federal custody. His arraignment and detention hearings are scheduled for April 10 in Asheville.

The charges arose from an investigation by the FBI in North Carolina, the Missing and Murdered Unit of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Cherokee Indian Police Department and the EBCI Office of the Tribal Prosecutor.

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