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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ute Mountain Ute Man Sentenced To Over 23 Years In Federal Prison For Two Violent Crimes

Defendant responsible for assault on police officer as well as unrelated rape of woman

DURANGO – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that Wambli Mills, age 23, of Towaoc, Colorado, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn for convictions in two separate cases, to serve, combined, over 23 years (278 months) in federal prison, followed by 7 years on supervised release.  Mills appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded at its conclusion.  A federal jury found Mills guilty of aggravated sexual assault following a week-long trial before Judge Blackburn on July 18, 2019, in case 18-cr-00415.  Separately, Mills pled guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury of a federal police officer on September 27, 2019, before Magistrate Judge James Candelaria.

In the first case Mills was sentenced to 200 months in federal prison following an indictment by a federal grand jury, for one count of Sexual Abuse of an Incapable Victim and one count of Aggravated Sexual Abuse within the exterior boundaries of the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.  According to court documents, as well as facts presented during trial and sentencing, Mills anally raped the victim, who was then able to escape and report the incident to the police.  Law enforcement located Mills hiding in a nearby field with the victim’s leggings wrapped around his neck and the victim’s underwear on his person.  DNA testing conducted by the FBI showed the victim’s DNA on the interior of Mills’ underwear. 

In the second case Mills was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison after he and his brother, Wendell Mills, Jr., were indicted by a federal grand jury, for attempted murder and assault charges.  According to court documents, as well as facts presented during sentencing, on April 8, 2018, Mills and his brother tackled a Bureau of Indian Affairs Police Officer who was attempting to effectuate an arrest in Towaoc, Colorado, on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.  While on the ground, Mills attempted to choke the officer while yelling “goodnight officer!”  During the struggle, Mills’ brother grabbed the officer’s holstered pistol, causing the gun to discharge into the officer’s leg.  As Mills held the officer down, Mills’ brother attempted to murder the officer by aiming what he believed to be a loaded gun at the officer’s head and pulling the trigger several times.  A bystander intervened long enough for the officer to deploy his taser weapon and subdue Mills and his brother.  Wendell Mills, Jr. was previously sentenced on June 3, 2019, to 121 months imprisonment by Judge Blackburn.  

“Wambli Mills has twice demonstrated that he is a significant danger to the Ute Mountain Ute community,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “As these sentences show, our office is committed to holding violent offenders in Indian Country accountable for their crimes.”

"The conduct in this case indicates a blatant disregard for the safety of those in our community," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. "The FBI and our partners are committed to pursuing and bringing justice to those who commit such egregious acts of violence."

These case were investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Graves, R. Josh Player, and Peter McNeilly.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax
Press Release Number: 
CASE NUMBERS: 18-cr-00182 and 18-cr-00415
Updated December 10, 2019