A man charged with using a sword to stab a Lame Deer man to death took a plea deal Wednesday that suggested it was a crime of passion.

Tyson Jo Lonebear, 28, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in U.S. District Court in Billings. The plea agreement replaces the original charge of second-degree murder.

During the hearing, Lonebear took responsibility for the death of 21-year-old Chay Little, who was stabbed on May 18, 2016, in Lame Deer.

The plea agreement, which Lonebear signed, characterizes the killing as something that happened "while in a sudden quarrel or heat of passion" and caused by "adequate provocation."

Statements made by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sullivan during Wednesday's hearing indicated there was a fight between Lonebear and Little that day. During the fight, Lonebear stabbed Little in the chest with a three-foot sword.

The maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter is 15 years. Federal prisoners receive no parole.

Lonebear is scheduled for sentencing on June 15.


General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.