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Press Release

Attempted Carjacker on the Southern Ute Reservation Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DURANGO – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Lionel Mario Charley, age 30, of Durango, Colorado, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for attempted carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release.  

According to the plea agreement, on June 15, 2022, Charley accosted a woman in the parking garage of a Durango office building in which she worked at the time. Charley threatened the employee, got into her vehicle, and demanded that she take him to Red Mesa, Arizona. The victim drove Charley a short distance before pulling over on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and demanding he leave the vehicle. In response, Charley took a rock from his pocket and struck the victim repeatedly in the head. Charley admitted his intent was to seriously hurt the victim so he could “hijack” her car. During the attack, the victim’s car rolled down an embankment. The victim was able to escape Charley and crawl back to the road to seek help. Charley fled and the next morning stole another car and drove it to Arizona.

“This random, unprovoked attack on an innocent citizen justifies this lengthy sentence,” said Acting United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch. “We remain committed to vigorously prosecuting violent crime on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.”

“This was a violent attack on an unsuspecting victim. If not for her courage, this outcome would not have been possible,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. “This incident started in Durango and ended on the Southern Ute Reservation, which required assistance from the Durango Police Department, La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and Southern Ute Police Department. We thank the survivor and these agencies for their efforts that led to a safe conclusion.”

United States District Court Judge Gordon P. Gallagher sentenced the defendant on June 18, 2024.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Durango conducted the investigation in conjunction with the Southern Ute Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey K. Graves handled the prosecution of the case.


Updated June 26, 2024