News and Press Releases

Navajo man sentenced to one year imprisonment on federal assault conviction

January 6, 2011

This afternoon, Senior United States District Judge James A. Parker sentenced Nelvin Willie, 25, of Smith Lake, New Mexico, to a twelve-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three-years supervised release based on his guilty plea to federal assault charges. Judge Parker continued Willie’s release under the supervision of pretrial services, but ordered him to surrender to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons within 60-days to begin serving his prison sentence.

Willie and his co-defendant Vincent Six, Jr., 32, also a Smith Lake resident, were arrested on federal assault charges on January 12, 2010. The two Navajo men were charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in an indictment filed on January 28, 2010. Willie pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury on August 16, 2010 pursuant to a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the charges against Willie and Six arose from an early morning incident on January 1, 2010 when the two men brutally assaulted Christopher Cornelius Kenneth with an aluminum baseball bat and a long aluminum broom handle. According to the criminal complaint, Willie and Six drove to Mr. Kenneth's residence where Six and Mr. Kenneth got into an argument that led to a physical confrontation between the two men. Although Mr. Kenneth fled to a neighbor's home to seek protection, Six and Willie followed him. There, Six beat Mr. Kenneth with the aluminum bat while Willie struck him with the aluminum broom handle. After Six and Willie departed, neighbors transported Mr. Kenneth to the Crownpoint Indian Health Services where he was treated for a four-inch laceration to the top of his head which required fifteen stitches, a fractured left forearm, a contusion on his right arm near the elbow, a fractured tooth that subsequently had to be extracted, and bruises and abrasions to both knees.

Six also has entered a guilty plea on August 6, 2010 and was sentenced to a three-year term of incarceration by Judge Parker on November 4, 2010.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jack E. Burkhead, and was investigated by the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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