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Press Release

Church Rock, N.M., Man Sentenced to 162 Months in Federal Prison for Second Degree Murder Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Danny Dan Don Brown, 25, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Church Rock, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon to 162 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for his second degree murder conviction.  He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1200 to cover the cost of the victim’s funeral and related expenses. 

Brown and his co-defendant, Melvyn Lee Morgan, 29, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., were arrested on Dec. 27, 2011, based on a criminal complaint charging them with the Dec. 3, 2011 murder of Robert L. Smith, also a member of the Navajo Nation.  According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the murder was committed in Church Rock, which is within the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Brown and Morgan, who have been in federal custody since their arrests, were indicted on Jan. 24, 2012, and charged with second degree murder.

According to court records, late on the night of Dec. 3, 2011, Brown, Morgan and the victim were involved in a fight after drinking alcohol.  During the fight, Brown and Morgan repeatedly kicked and punched the victim, who died as a result of injuries he sustained.   Brown entered a guilty plea to the indictment in March 2013.

Morgan has entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and is scheduled for trial on July 8, 2013.  The charges in the indictment as to Morgan are only accusations and he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Crownpoint Office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety with assistance from the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.

Updated January 26, 2015