A 22-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for killing a Harrah woman in 2016.
George Skylar Cloud was sentenced to life without parole for killing Felina Blanch Metsker. He also received two consecutive 10-year prison sentences for discharging a firearm in crimes of violence. One sentence was for Metsker and the second was for wounding a woman in an earlier carjacking.
A jury found Cloud guilty in Metsker’s death following a January trial, and he pleaded to the firearms count in the carjacking as part of a plea deal.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian acknowledged that adding additional time to a life sentence might defy logic, but he said there was a reason for it.
“Even though a more serious sentence is being imposed, that does not make the other crime free,” Bastian explained during sentencing.
A jury convicted Cloud in January of killing Metsker, 33, at a mobile home where she lived on Barkes Road.
Metsker was last seen between 2 and 3 p.m. March 25, 2016, in the area of Barkes Road, according to authorities. She was reported missing April 1, 2016. Her remains were found in May 2016, and Cloud was indicted in February 2018.
Nicholas W. Marchi, Cloud’s attorney on the homicide case, said he would appeal the ruling. In court papers, Marchi argued that a life sentence would violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments.
Marchi noted that had Cloud been tried in state Superior Court, he would have received, at most, just under 32 years in prison.
Cloud was tried in federal court because he and Metsker were Yakama Nation citizens and the killing occurred on tribal land.
He also noted federal court rulings have barred life-without-parole sentences for youthful offenders.
“Immaturity of youth and life sentences have been overturned by the court,” Marchi told Bastian during Wednesday’s hearing.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Hanlon said Cloud committed a “cold, calculated murder” that had a ripple effect across several families.
“As a result of the defendant’s action, multiple lives have been ruined,” Hanlon said. “Felina Metsker lost her life, Velicia Wyman lost her daughter, (Metsker’s) children lost their mother. Neil Cloud (Cloud’s brother) lost his life in a revenge killing because of this killing. The carjacking victim is afraid of him. His cousins had to clean up the (crime scene) and are now in prison.”
Prosecutors say Neil Cloud helped kill Metsker and was himself killed in 2016, and his remains were found in Medicine Valley off Towtnuk Road in September 2017.
Donovan Culps, a White Swan man who was sentenced earlier this year to more than 35 years for killing a marijuana store employee in Cheney in 2017, was indicted for murder in Neil Cloud’s death. He was charged after telling a Spokane television reporter that he killed a man on the Yakima Nation in 2016 to avenge Metsker’s death.
Kristen Ashlie Windy Cloud, 37, and Nicole Lee Sunny Cloud, 30, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in Metsker’s death, after prosecutors said they cleaned up the trailer where Metsker
was killed. Kristen Cloud was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Nicole Cloud awaits sentencing.