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Press Release

Jicarilla Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native America Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Shane Lewis Vigil, 29, an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation who resides in Dulce, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assault charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Vigil will be sentenced within the range of 60 to 71 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.  Vigil also will be required to pay restitution to the victims of his crimes.

Vigil was arrested on July 24, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  According to the complaint, Vigil assaulted his girlfriend, a Jicarilla Apache woman, with an aluminum baseball bat on July 20, 2015.  According to court records, law enforcement authorities learned about the assault when a social worker reported that the victim had been admitted to a hospital after being severely beaten with a baseball bat. 

Vigil was indicted on Aug. 12, 2015, and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, an aluminum baseball bat, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The indictment alleged that Vigil committed the crime on July 20, 2015, in Indian Country in Rio Arriba County, N.M. 

During today’s proceedings, Vigil pled guilty to a three-count felony information.  With respect to Counts 1 and 2, which charged Vigil with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury, Vigil admitted assaulting a female victim with a baseball bat on July 20, 2015, in Rio Arriba County, causing the victim to suffer multiple serious injuries.  With respect to Count 3, Vigil admitting assaulting a male victim on Nov. 21, 2014, in Rio Arriba County, and causing him to suffer serious bodily injury.

Vigil remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raquel Ruiz-Velez and Kyle T. Nayback are prosecuting the case. 

This case was brought as part of 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 American 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.

Updated February 4, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice