News and Press Releases

Shiprock Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for
Setting Fire to Former Girlfriend’s Residence

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Dan Curtis Thompson, 33, of Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced today to 35 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on an arson charge.  Thompson also was ordered to pay $57,415.02 to the Navajo Housing Authority to pay for damage caused by his criminal conduct.  The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and John Billison, Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. 

Thompson and his twin sister, Christina Thompson were arrested in Oct. 2013, on an indictment charging them with willfully and maliciously setting fire to an occupied rental unit at the Navajo Housing Authority in Ojo Amarillo, located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, on Jan. 9, 2013.

On Feb. 18, 2014, Thompson pled guilty to the indictment and admitted setting fire to his former girlfriend’s residence on Jan. 9, 2013.  Thompson resided in the victim’s apartment until she ejected him after he had a “forceful physical interaction” with her.  As Thompson’s resentment towards the victim grew, he began putting into place plans to burn her residence.  Thompson’s sister drove Thompson to the victim’s residence on Jan. 9, 2013, where he shattered a window so he could unlock the door and enter the residence.  Once inside, Thompson poured gasoline in the residence; after igniting the gasoline, Thompson fled from the residence with his sister’s assistance.  Thompson admitted that he did not check to see if anyone was in the residence when he lit the fire, and that he burned the victim’s residence to retaliate against her.

Christina Thompson entered a guilty plea to the indictment on April 11, 2014, and admitted helping her brother set fire to the victim’s residence.  Christina Thompson admitted driving her brother to the victim’s residence where he set the residence on fire.  She also admitted helping her brother flee from the site of the arson.  Christina Thompson was remanded into federal custody after entering her guilty plea and remains detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Shiprock Division of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.  It was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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