Two Washington Men Sentenced to Decades in Federal Prison for Crimes Involving Multiple Homicides and a Carjacking on the Yakama Nation on Treaty Day in 2019
James Dean Cloud sentenced for committing multiple murders and a carjacking. Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud sentenced for his role in the carjacking.
Yakima, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that James Dean Cloud, age 39, and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud, age 35, were sentenced by Chief District Judge Stanley A. Bastian for crimes involving multiple murders and a carjacking in 2019. James Cloud was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment to run consecutively. James Cloud was also ordered to pay approximately $25,000 in restitution on behalf of the homicide victims and their families. Donovan Cloud was sentenced to 327 months of incarceration for his role in the carjacking.
Following today’s sentencing, U.S. Attorney Waldref stated, “The loss of life in this case is just horrific. It is the obligation of law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office to seek justice for victims and their families. Not everyone who suffered a loss in this case will be able to find solace, despite the lengthy prison terms that were handed down today. Our hearts go out to everyone who lost a family member due to the senseless violence that occurred on June 8, 2019. I praise the courage of the members of our community who came forward, cooperated with law enforcement, and testified at trial.”
According to court documents and evidence elicited at the trial of James Cloud, on June 8, 2019, in White Swan, Washington, four victims were shot and left for dead at 5151 Medicine Valley Road. A fifth victim was shot in his truck while parked in the driveway. A passenger in the truck, who was also shot, was able to escape while the suspects opened fire on the truck. The suspects fled the crime scene in a stolen truck, which broke down less than ten miles from the crime scene. In search of another vehicle, the suspects armed themselves and approached a nearby home. One suspect grabbed a child playing outside and held a gun to the child’s head, while the second armed suspect pointed a shotgun at the child’s parents and demanded the keys to the family vehicle. The suspects then kidnapped the child and fled. Because of the quick thinking of the child’s parents, who yelled for the child to jump from the moving vehicle, and the bravery of the child, the minor child escaped and survived. Notably, these offenses occurred when the Yakama Nation was celebrating Treaty Day, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Yakama Nation Treaty of 1855, the treaty that formed the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
During the investigation into these offenses, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama Nation Police Department, and the FBI conducted a compressive and thorough analysis of both crime scenes and the vehicles used by the suspects. The investigation revealed that each of the murder victims had been shot with a .22 caliber rifle. Ballistic evidence established that .22 shell casings found at the crime scene matched up to a .22 rifle that was discovered in a canal near the second crime scene. A frightened witness identified James Cloud as the individual who possessed the .22 caliber rifle while at the 5151 Medicine Valley crime scene. Donovan Cloud’s latent fingerprint later was discovered on the rear-view mirror of the vehicle that was stolen during the kidnapping and carjacking.
On February 28, 2022, the jury trial of James Cloud began. Over the course of several days, multiple law enforcement, citizens, victims, and expert witnesses testified. Despite being afraid for his personal safety, a courageous witness came forward and testified about what happened at the 5151 Medicine Valley crime scene. Additional members of the community and victims likewise testified about the suspects’ actions on that horrific day.
On March 9, 2022, a jury found James Cloud guilty of four counts of First-Degree Murder, Carjacking, two counts of Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, Kidnapping a Minor, Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, and three counts of Discharging a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. On the same day, Donovan Cloud pled guilty to Carjacking and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence.
Earlier today, both James Cloud and Donovan Cloud were sentenced in Yakima, Washington. Several victims and their family members spoke at the sentencing hearing and relayed how these horrific crimes impacted their lives. Many victims also prepared written statements which were submitted to the Court. Chief Judge Stanley Bastian reviewed the trial transcripts, the victim impact statements, and listened to the victims and their representatives. When Chief Judge Bastian pronounced sentence, he stated that James Cloud had “been a danger to the community for a long time,” adding that Cloud “terrorized a community and terrorized a family.” Chief Judge Bastian also expressed his heartfelt sorrow to the victims of this case.
U.S. Attorney Waldref commended the efforts of the investigators and prosecutors who worked for years to bring justice to the victims of Cloud’s crimes. U.S. Attorney Waldref stated, “The sentences that were imposed in this case demonstrate that those who victimize members of our community will be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law. However, such lengthy sentences simply cannot substitute for the tragic loss of so many lives. The public can feel better knowing that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud are no longer roaming the streets and will no longer be able to inflict harm on the Yakama Nation. The Eastern District of Washington is undoubtably safer and more secure. I am grateful for the dedication and perseverance of the FBI, the ATF, the Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol, who collaborated with Assistant United States Attorneys Tom Hanlon and Rick Burson to see these cases through to just results. We will continue to mourn with the victims and our hearts will forever grieve for their families.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Tom Hanlon and Rick Burson, who prosecuted the case, expressed their gratitude to the law enforcement agents and officers, who handled the case. They also recognized the many victims whose lives will never be the same. “If it were not for the combined efforts of the FBI, ATF, Yakama Nation Police Department, and Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, there would have been no measure of justice for the victims in this case,” stated AUSA Tom Hanlon.
AUSA Rick Burson added, “We cannot understate the tragedy of this case. A number of innocent victims lost their lives, and their families will never be the same. I’m grateful for the bravery and courage of the surviving victims and witnesses who came forward. Because they agreed to speak with law enforcement and testified at trial, the victims and their families are hopefully able to feel some measure of justice in this case.”
“The spree of violence perpetrated by the Cloud brothers was horrifying and senseless,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “The investigation, conducted alongside our partner agencies, demonstrates the FBI’s diligence and commitment to prioritizing the investigation of violent crimes and the impact these crimes inflict on our communities. The efforts of investigators and prosecutors hopefully provides some sense of justice for the survivors. It is my hope that today’s sentence ensures that the Cloud brothers never terrorize their community again.”
“The sheer brutality of the Clouds’ actions clearly warranted such severe sentences,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “ATF will always work to ensure that violent criminals, such as the Clouds, are held accountable for their actions.”
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Tom Hanlon and Rick Burson, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.