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Marcella Hope Yellowbear
   August 15, 2002 - July 2, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial

In March of 2002, a couple was arrest after having been accused of stealing a television and a stereo. Andrew John Yellowbear Jr. and Macalia Blackburn had stolen the items and then a fight took place when Macalia, who was four months pregnant at the time, asked Andrew to pawn the stereo. Police were called and Andrew was arrested and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery and Macalia plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal entry. When Marcella gave birth to a baby girl, Marcella Hope Yellowbear, the child was taken into the custody of the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court.
 
In May of 2003, Marcella was pregnant again, this time with twins. Andrew didn't believe that the twins were his so he punched Macalia in the face and stomach several times. Andrew was charged with felony aggravated assault, he was allowed to plea down to charge of battery against a household member and went to jail for 113 days and upon his release, he was to be on supervised probation.

At some point during this time, Marcella Hope Yellowbear had been returned to her parents care after having been passed around from family member to family member. Before she was returned to her parents, the case with the Northern Arapaho Child Protective Services had been closed and no further intervention from them would take place unless allegations of abuse or neglect would come up:

"If we followed all the cases after they are closed, why, we'd be going bananas over here. I feel that we
did what are supposed to do"
Velma Rhodes - Administrator - Northern Arapho CPS

In my opinion, it's not a matter of following a closed case, it's a matter of WHY was the case closed to begin with? It was quite obvious that this family was in big trouble. In June of 2004, it became apparent, though a report, that Marcella Hope was not living with her mother, Ruby Blackburn. There came a time when Macalia got her daughter back, however, within a week of that time, Marcella Hope would be dead. Andrew spoke in court saying:

"I believe the person who committed these atrocities confessed to them on July 2, 2004"

After Andrew finished his statement, the judge said that the word torture was appropriately used and "wholly adequate" when describing the mistreatment that Marcella has suffered before her death. Ruby and her family were upset saying that Andrew still thinks he is innocent.

Macalia Blackburn was sentenced to 60 in prison for what she did to her daughter.

Ruby Blackburn said that she had tried to keep Andrew and Macalia apart since they were considered to be cousins:

"When they got together, we kept trying to stop it. We kept trying to split them up"

Attempts to keep them apart didn't work and the couple had four children together, Marcella, Consualo, born August 15, 2002; Twins, Consualo and Calista, born September 20, 2003 and Tyrus who was born September 1, 2004. There came a time when Andrew started beating on Marcella Hope and Macalia claimed she couldn't stop him because she was afraid of him, so instead of helping her daughter, she joined in on the beatings. Marcella was beaten with a claw hammer, a shoe a two by four and many other objects, on a daily basis. When she died, Marcella had skull fracture in the back of her head, traumas to her head that were too numerous to count which caused blood clotting between her scalp and skull, she had a cut that went from her chin the underside of her tongue, a broken right arm, third degree burns on her right hand, large cuts as well as a burn to her bottom, cuts on the bottom of her feet, she had been pinched and poked with long finger nails, had deep tissue bruises on her body and she was severely dehydrated.

Andrew denied that he had hurt his daughter claiming that Macalia had been the one to kill her. A jury didn't buy what he was saying and in April of 2006, Andrew John Yellowbear, who was 31 years old at the time, was found guilty of premeditated, first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Andrew filed a petition with the U.S. District court to get his conviction overturned stating that only tribal and federal courts and not the state courts of Wyoming, had jurisdiction over his case. Andrew and Macalia were members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.


I am not going to go into the details of this because I don't understand what all is behind all of the legal goings on between reservation residents and non reservation residents and when I read about it, I still didn't understand it all and I do not want to print anything that I do not understand. One thing is for sure, a beautiful little Angel is dead at the hands of her parents and if they did or did not live on a reservation at at the time, shouldn't matter, they should both be in jail for the rest of their lives.


Marcella Hope Yellowbear was buried in a small, family cemetery on the Wind River Indian Reservation
where family members have placed a sign saying:

 "Nobody will hurt you again"

Marcella had to be buried without any clothing because Andrew and the family of her mother were fighting for control over her body and it had been over a week before the autopsy was done. It was settled in court that she would be buried in the Blackburn
Family Cemetery.

The director of her funeral convinced the family that it would be best not to dress her and to have a close casket ceremony.

Macalia Blackburn, who was 24 years old at the time, was in jail waiting to be sentenced after having plead guilty to being an accessory to  second degree murder, she testified against Andrew when he went to trial. Each of the families involved were arguing about who had been to blame, each thought the parent of the other family was responsible for the death of the child. If they had stopped and listened, they would have been able to see that BOTH of these people abused and tortured this little girl until her body just gave out and the only relief she could get was to die.

Ruby spoke about Marcella, her great-granddaughter, talking about how she was angry about the situation and that she had been a happy girl at one time. Ruby lived with her husband and other family members which included the twins
that Macalia gave birth to in 2003. Ruby spoke to reporters about how Macalia had been doing really well when she was on her own, working, taking parenting classes as well as counseling and renting her own place to live:

"The reason Macalia did all these things is she wanted Marcella back in her custody"

Ruby says that Macalia did receive custody of her daughter and none of them knew that Andrew was back in the picture in just a short time, saying that there had been a lot of violence in his family:

"They grew up like that. They don't know anything about respect"

Martha Kilcrease, Andrew's sister couldn't disagree and was upset while talking about family members who have died in the past:

"Everyone we lost, we lost to homicide. They see us as having a lot of anger. We just want justice.
Nobody
ever gets punished for killing our family"

While Ruby had custody of the twins, Andrew's family just wanted to be able to see them. It was reported that the fourth child, 18 month old Tyrus, was not placed with family members and Andrew was fighting the courts to make sure that his son had his last name, he won that request, though he had never seen his son up to that point. Martha was defending her brother saying that he and Macalia had done very well with the twins and that fights were just a normal part of their relationship, especially when they had been drinking.

The original statement given by Macalia said that she alone was responsible for the death of her Marcella and then later when Andrew was interviewed, he gave some of the same details adding that Marcella had died after being hung up in a closet using a strap through her overalls, both said at that time, that Andrew was not home at the time of her death. Later, Macalia told police that she had lied, that he had been home and was the one responsible for the death of their daughter, that she had lied to protect him.

Martha said that Macalia had been truthful the first time and that it was unfair that the twins were living with Ruby:

"We are victims of this crime, too:
Martha Kilcrease

Lupe said of her niece:

"Everyone is so quick to judge my niece. My niece did everything in her power to make sure her
babies had a secure environment"

How can she say that? Her niece admitted what she did. No children are safe with Macalia! These two families seem to have lost sight of the fact that a 22 month old child is dead and there's no sense in fighting. The remaining children should be able to visit with ALL of their family members, provided they are in a safe environment. I post pictures of graves in hopes that someone will see them, realize that if they are abusing someone or they are in a abusive situation, they might be able to get the help they need before it's too late and another child is buried.

Ruby said:

"I'm sure glad this is going to be over with. This has been going on too long"

This page was created on May 26, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of Wyoming

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