Red Lake man sentenced to 16 years for killing his wife

A Red Lake man will spend 16 years in a federal prison for killing his wife. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 39-year-old Jeremiah Kingbird entered a guilty plea last October to murder in the second degree and was sentenced yesterday.

“Addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) cases is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and for the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald.

“In this particular case, Mr. Kingbird subjected his wife to extreme physical violence before leaving her on the side of a road, exposed to below freezing temperatures. The disproportionally high rates of violence that plague Native American women is unacceptable. Today’s sentence represents justice for the victim and our commitment to putting an end to the staggering MMIP issue.”

The release says that on January 6, 2019, following a night of drinking, Kingbird and his wife were driving to their Ponemah home when they began to argue and fight.

While driving, Kingbird struck his wife in the head, used his hand to strangle her, and left her on the road near Highway 1 and Old Ponemah Road in Redby.

Law enforcement found Mrs. Kingbird hours later, face down in the snow, with severe injuries to her head and neck. She was pronounced dead at the Red Lake IHS hospital.


Gennie Kingbird. Photo courtesy of Violence Free MN.

According to Violence Free MN, formerly the Minnesota Coalition Against Battered Women, Kingbird’s victim, Gennie Marie Kingbird, 41, of Ponemah, is survived by five children.

Gennie was the state’s first person known to be killed by domestic violence in 2019.

Officers conducted a search of Kingbird’s vehicle, where they observed blood on the front passenger window.

The Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force conducted the investigation.

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