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Press Release

Navajo Man from Buffalo Springs Pleads Guilty to Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Jay Barton, 48, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Buffalo Springs, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a voluntary manslaughter charge.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Barton will be sentenced within the range of 78 to 97 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Barton was arrested on Aug. 26, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging with killing a Navajo man on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M., on Aug. 21, 2015.  The crime occurred during an argument between Barton and the victim while Barton and the victim were drinking alcoholic beverages.  Barton was subsequently indicted on a voluntary manslaughter charge on Sept. 22, 2015.

During today’s proceedings, Barton pled guilty to the indictment charging him with voluntary manslaughter.  In entering the guilty plea, Barton admitted killing the victim by stabbing him in the chest, abdomen and back during an argument that became physical.  According to the plea agreement, both Barton and the victim were intoxicated when Barton committed the crime.

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

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez.

Updated February 4, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice