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San felipe man receives 12-Year sentence based on 2nd degree murder conviction

January 10, 2011

This morning, United States District Judge William P. Johnson sentenced Leon Ray Sanchez, 24, an enrolled member of the San Felipe Pueblo to a twelve-year term of imprisonment to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release based on his second degree murder conviction. Sanchez has been in federal custody since September 6, 2008 when he was arrested based on a criminal complaint charging him with the murder of Nancy Sandoval, a 48 year old San Felipe woman. He pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Ms. Sandoval on September 27, 2010 under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office.

According to the criminal complaint, family and friends of Ms. Sandoval found her remains in a remote part of the San Felipe Reservations on the morning of September 6, 2008. Ms. Sandoval had suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones, lacerations and bruises. Members of her family told Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Ms. Sandoval left the family residence with Sanchez at approximately 10:00 p.m. the day before after telling them that Sanchez was going to take her to visit a friend (Sanchez's mother). Ms. Sandoval never arrived at her friend's home and did not return home that night. The next morning, family and friends went out to look for Ms. Sandoval and found her remains. The complaint alleges that Ms. Sandoval's family and friends observed Sanchez in the area where the body was found and thought he was behaving in a strange and nervous manner.

According to the criminal complaint, Sanchez later told FBI Special Agents that he drove Ms. Sandoval to the remote location where her body was found. According to Sanchez, once there, he had an argument with Ms. Sandoval and she got out of his vehicle with the intention of walking back to her home. Sanchez admitted that he responded by running Ms. Sandoval over with his vehicle because he was angry and wanted to hurt her. Special Agents recovered blood and human tissue on Sanchez's vehicle. In his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted that he killed Ms. Sandoval with malice aforethought by striking her with a vehicle.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Presiliano Torrez and was investigated by the FBI.

(Download Criminal Complaint adobe icon)
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