Law | National

Native Sun News: Wheels of justice slow for Oglala Sioux woman

From left: Phillip Red Bear Sr. (sons’ father), Chevy Red Bear (son), Raymond Waters Sr. (father of Jessie), Phillip Red Bear Jr. (son), Anthony Waters (uncle), and Elizabeth Waters (aunt) stand on the spot where Jessie Waters was found dead on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News

Wheels of justice slow for Lakota woman
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

OGLALA –– On April 30, 2015, Oglala resident Jessie Renae Waters was found dead outside of Oglala on a fire road just over a hill overlooking highway US 18. She was several months pregnant at the time of her death.

Nearly a year later and no charges have been filed; but the person the family believes to be responsible for her death, Duane Benson, has recently plead guilty to “arson within special maritime and territorial jurisdiction” in court proceedings held at the Andrew W. Bogue Federal Building in Rapid City.

In the months leading up to Waters’ death, the trailer home she owned in Oglala burned to the ground with her pets still inside. On December 23, 2015, a guilty disposition by defendant Duane Benson was entered into court.

This trailer home was purchased by Jessie and the father of her two children, Phillip Red Bear Sr., from Jessie’s uncle Chris Lone Elk.

Jessie Renae Waters, 1984-2015.

In an interview with Native Sun News, family members told NSN that Benson had taken a plea bargain and pled guilty to arson and will receive “seven years in prison.” His admittance of guilt is an admittance of violent and destructive behavior, according to her family.

Last year on April 7, just over three weeks before her death, Jessie Waters had petitioned the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court asking for a temporary protection order against her live-in boyfriend Duane Benson.

According to her family, this protection order was largely disregarded by both Benson and Waters; as they continued to lived together and be seen together.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Wheels of justice slow for Lakota woman

(Contact Richie Richards at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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