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Judge sentences son of convicted murderer to 40 years in prison for stabbing death


FARGO, North Dakota — A North Dakota man with a family history of deadly violence was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison for a stabbing death that resembled a gruesome 2000 slaying for which his father is serving a life term.

Daniel Greatwalker Jr., 24, of Belcourt, pleaded guilty in November to second-degree murder and altering evidence. The victim, 21-year-old Perry Caske Picotte, who was Greatwalker's cousin, died in November 2012 after suffering 31 mostly deep stab wounds to his neck and upper body.

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of life in prison. Defense attorneys argued for a sentence of between 20 and 25 years.

"Obviously we had hoped for a shorter sentence," said Neil Fulton, spokesman for the federal public defender's office in North and South Dakota. "Daniel had a terrible childhood, being exposed to a homicide his father committed when he was a boy. We will discuss the sentence with our client and any next steps we may want to pursue."

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon declined comment Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors argued for a life sentence because of the heinous nature of the crime and Greatwalker's history of violent offenses and gang affiliation. Prosecutors in the sentencing phase entered into evidence several letters written by Greatwalker from jail that he signed "MOB4LIFE."

"I represent NATIVE MOB to the fullest," Greatwalker wrote.

The evidence also included a poem written by Greatwalker entitled "Native Pride," with one verse that read:

"United we stand,

Divided we fall!

You can shoot one,

But you can't shoot us all."

Defense attorneys asked a lesser sentence because of Greatwalker's troubled childhood and exposure to violence. His father, Daniel Greatwalker Sr., was convicted in 2002 of killing Linus Wallette by beating him with a pickax, knife and hammer.

Prosecutors alleged that the elder Greatwalker killed to avenge the November 1997 killing of his father, Clarence, by a member of the Wallette family.

The younger Greatwalker told friends in letters about the evil things he witnessed growing up and the time he spent in juvenile detention. He said many people wanted to hurt him and he slept with a "big knife in my hand" and a "gun or two beside me."

He also said he would rather be sentenced to death than locked up.

Picotte was reported missing on Nov. 27. His body was discovered Dec. 2. Investigators said that following the killing Greatwalker disposed of the knife, washed his clothes and burned his shoes.

Greatwalker wrote in a jailhouse letter that if he would have had bullets in his gun when he was arrested, he would have started a shootout with police and "gone out with a bang!"

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