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Red Lake, Minn., woman pleads guilty to biting ear off woman at New Year's Day party

A Red Lake, Minn., woman pleaded guilty Thursday to maiming another Red Lake woman by biting her ear off and biting her nose, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

Joelyn Rose Hart, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of maiming Thursday in federal court in St. Paul. She was indicted June 8 and entered her plea this week before U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle.

In the plea agreement, Hart admitted that on Jan. 1, 2009, she intended to torture, maim and disfigure the victim by biting her ear and nose without just cause or reason to do so. The incident occurred during a New Year's Day party on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

The maiming victim underwent five reconstructive surgeries to re-attach her ear.

Hart faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Her sentence will be determined at a future hearing, which has not been scheduled.

The case is a result of an investigation by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Dees.