Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
February 23, 2012
NAVAJO MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 17 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SECOND DEGREE MURDER
PHOENIX – Joseph Aaron Duncan, 28, of Sawmill, Ariz., and a member of the Navajo Nation Indian Tribe, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt on Feb. 22, 2012 to 210 months in federal prison, followed by a five year term of supervised release. Duncan pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder on Nov. 21, 2011.
According to court documents, after midnight on April 8, 2011, Duncan was at his residence with the victim, who was a friend of Duncan. Duncan was in possession of a .40 caliber pistol at the time, and was intoxicated when he shot the victim one time in the chest. Although Duncan claimed the gun accidentally fired during a struggle, autopsy results did not show indicia of a close range shot. Starting in the early morning hours of April 8, 2011, Duncan took steps to cover up the shooting, including burying the victim in a wooded field, burying the gun, burning his clothing and the victim’s clothing, and discarding in the garbage the round that went through the victim’s chest. The victim’s body was not found until more than a week after the shooting
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Navajo Division of Public Safety Department of Criminal Investigations. The prosecution was handled by Christina J. Reid-Moore, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-11-8116-PCT-PGR
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-043(Duncan)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/