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Witness describes brutal night watching ex-boyfriend kill man, injure another

FARGO--The prosecution's primary witness in the trial of a Spirit Lake Nation man accused of killing one man and seriously wounding another took the stand Thursday and recounted a night of deadly violence.

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Thundershield

FARGO--The prosecution's primary witness in the trial of a Spirit Lake Nation man accused of killing one man and seriously wounding another took the stand Thursday and recounted a night of deadly violence.

Priscilla Bear, a former girlfriend of Dallas Wayne Thundershield, testified that she witnessed Thundershield brutally assault 43-year-old Elvis DeMarce and kill 52-year-old Richard Dean DeMarce Sr. the night of April 9.

Thundershield, 36, faces four charges in federal court: murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in substantial bodily injury for his alleged role in the attack and for later beating Bear.

Bear spoke softly and appeared reluctant when questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice Morley, but her answers gave the court an intimate look at what happened April 9.

She said she and Thundershield decided to walk to a store around 6:30 p.m. Two men pulled up in red pickup and asked them if they needed a ride anywhere. They needed gas money, she said.

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She said she did not know the men, but agreed to give them $5 in exchange for a ride to the store. In the car, Bear testified she learned that Elvis DeMarce was her cousin.

Bear stated that Thundershield was wearing blue jeans, a black hat, a black jacket and black boots. The hat, boots, and jeans had been registered as evidence in the case, and Bear confirmed the items were Thundershield's when presented with them in court.

The four rode to a store in Fort Totten, N.D., to get gas and some other items. They then drove to pick up Bear's daughter in St. Michael, she said. At that point she took over driving, she said, because the DeMarce men had been drinking. On the way back to Fort Totten, she said they stopped and bought some cans of Joose, a malt liquor.

Once in Fort Totten they dropped off Bear's daughter at Bear's sister's house, where she said she'd recently moved. At her sister's house, she said Thundershield began to poke at her with his knife and harass her.

"He said he was going to take that truck," Bear testified.

The four left Bear's sister's house in the truck. Bear said she was still driving, with Elvis DeMarce in the passenger seat, Thundershield behind her and Richard DeMarce behind Elvis.

She said Thundershield continued to poke at her with his knife and hit her. Elvis DeMarce told her to pull over the car so he could drive, she said. The truck came to a stop along Bureau of Indian Affairs Highway 6.

When Elvis DeMarce exited the passenger seat, Bear testified that Thundershield lept out after him and the two men began to fight. She said Thundershield had his knife.

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Morley presented her with a knife that was archived in evidence, and Bear confirmed it belonged to Thundershield.

As the men fought, Bear said she called the Fort Totten Police Department. Richard DeMarce, who Bear testified had been passed out, awoke and exited the vehicle. She said he began to fight with Thundershield, too. Once Thundershield had finished with Richard DeMarce, Bear said Thundershield dragged Elvis DeMarce across the road toward the truck and was stomping his face.

During this time, she said she called Fort Totten Police four times.

She said Thundershield told her to find the keys, and the two fled the scene with Thundershield driving the truck. After a short distance, she said Thundershield turned around.

"He said 'I have to kill them, I have to kill them,' " Bear said.

"We went back toward them and Richard was waving us down, and he ran over Richard," she said.

She testified they then went to the residence of Raymond Peltier in Hamar, N.D. The first time they knocked, no one answered, she said. The two then drove around near the property and eventually Thundershield crashed into a ditch nearby, she said. When they went back to the Peltier residence, Raymond Peltier let them inside.

Bear said Thundershield told Peltier "I think I killed them, bro".

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The three went to go get alcohol in Hamar, she said, and returned with 2 liters of vodka. She said they were drinking when Thundershield read a letter from an ex-girlfriend, and then suddenly began to beat her.

"Dallas was stomping on my ankle, saying I was never going to walk again," she said.

After beating her, she said Thundershield briefly left the residence through the garage, when he returned he had a dumbbell and began to attack Peltier. She said Peltier beat up Thundershield, giving him a large cut on his face. Once knocked out, she said the two put Thundershield in a bed, and Peltier told her to call the cops. Police arrived around 6 a.m. April 10 and arrested Thundershield. Bear was also arrested for unlawful consumption.

In cross examination, defense attorney Chris Lancaster asked Bear about her 2011 arrest for lying to a police officer, in which she had told authorities she was assaulted by a boyfriend, but later admitted it was someone else. Bear said that was true.

Lancaster also pressed her about some discrepancies between her court testimony and statements she made to the FBI on April 10. In her FBI reports, Lancaster asked if she had stated Thundershield told her he wanted to take the truck outside her sister's house. After reviewing the report, she said she did not.

In cross-examination, Lancaster asked more about Thundershield attacking her and fighting with Peltier. She said the fight took place in the living room and Thundershield had bled quite a bit on the couch.

In an earlier cross-examination with Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent Terry McCloud, Lancaster asked if law enforcement had considered Peltier's house part of the crime scene. McCloud said he did not.

The trial will resume Friday.

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