A Lame Deer man who earlier faced murder charges in Northern Cheyenne Tribal Court in the beating death of a woman denied federal murder charges on Tuesday.

Whitebird Limpy, 34, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, which is killing with malice aforethought, during an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan in Billings.

The indictment alleges Limpy killed the victim, identified as J.S., on Nov. 12, 2016, near mile marker 33 on Highway 212 on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Limpy was charged in a Dec. 7, 2016, criminal complaint in tribal court with criminal homicide in the death of Julia Stump, 41. The complaint accused Limpy of beating Stump and said that an autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Stump’s body was found Nov. 12, 2016, outside of Lame Deer, the same day tribal prosecutors believe she was killed.

Limpy made an initial appearance in tribal court where bond was set at $10,000. He requested a jury trial.

Tribal court documents said the FBI was processing DNA evidence of Stump, Limpy and samples from the crime scene.

In tribal court, the maximum sentence by law is one year for a Class A felony, which includes homicide.

The status of Limpy’s case in tribal court is unclear. Prosecutor Calvin Wilson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

If convicted on the federal murder charge, Limpy faces a maximum life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Cavan ordered Limpy to remain in custody. U.S. District Judge Susan Watters will hear the case.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.