News and Press Releases

Shiprock Man Pleads Guilty to
Federal Manslaughter Charge

December 19, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE – Elvan Hovel, 42, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., pleaded guilty today to a voluntarily manslaughter charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Hovel was arrested in Aug. 2013, based on a criminal complaint charging him with second degree murder and subsequently charged in an indictment in Sept., 2013 with voluntary manslaughter.  According to court filings, on July 22, 2012, Hovel pushed a 48-year-old Navajo woman who was intoxicated into an irrigation canal where the victim drowned.

In his plea agreement, Hovel admitted killing the victim on July 22, 2012, in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Hovel pushed the victim into an irrigation canal at a time when the two were intoxicated and arguing.  Hovel did not make any effort to rescue the victim as he watched her float away in the canal and go under.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hovel will be sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. He remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez.

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