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Press Release

Kewa Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder Charge

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Dennis J. Lovato, 29, a member and resident of Kewa Pueblo, pleaded guilty this morning to a second degree murder charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lovato was arrested on April 20, 2011, on a criminal complaint charging him with beating another Kewa Pueblo man to death outside the victim’s residence on April 15, 2011.  He subsequently was indicted and charged with second degree murder. 

This morning, Lovato entered a guilty plea to the indictment and admitted killing the victim on April 15, 2011, by beating him to death with his hands and feet.  Lovato admitted that he acted with malice aforethought as he beat the victim to death.  According to court filings, a preliminary autopsy report indicated that the victim died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Lovato will be sentenced to twelve years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.  Lovato has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Santa Fe office of the FBI and the Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Programs and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark T. Baker and Holland S. Kastrin.

Updated January 26, 2015