News and Press Releases

Shiprock Man Sentenced to Fifty-Seven Months for Aiding and
Abetting an Armed Robbery on the Navajo Indian Reservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE – Neilson McKensley, 49, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 57 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction for aiding and abetting an armed robbery in Indian Country.

McKensley was arrested on Nov. 13, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging him with being an accomplice to an armed robbery of a residence in Shiprock on Oct. 26, 2012.  He subsequently was indicted on that same charge.  McKensley has been in federal custody since his arrest.

According to court records, McKensley assisted Randy Coolidge, 46, in robbing the residence of an acquaintance in the early hours of Oct. 27, 2012, by driving Coolidge to the residence.  After putting duct tape over his face to conceal his identity, Coolidge approached the residence armed with a pistol.  When Coolidge tried to push his way into the residence, the victim attempted to take the pistol away from Coolidge.  As the two men fought over the pistol, the pistol discharged and Coolidge was shot in the chest and stomach.  Coolidge subsequently died of his wounds.  The victim then realized that McKensley, whose face also was covered with black duct tape and who was armed with a steel pipe, was standing by his door.  After attempting unsuccessfully to drag Coolidge from the residence, McKensley left Coolidge behind and drove away.  Officers initiated the investigation leading to McKensley’s arrest after Coolidge’s body was found shortly thereafter.

On May 6, 2013, McKensley pleaded guilty to the indictment and admitted driving Coolidge to the victim’s residence knowing that Coolidge intended to take items of value from the victim by force and violence.  McKensley also admitted that he intended to help Coolidge rob the victim. 

This case was investigated by Albuquerque and Farmington offices of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Baker.

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