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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Navajo Man from Churchrock Pleads Guilty to Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

ALBUQUERQUE – Randy Payton, 35, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Churchrock, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a voluntary manslaughter charge. Payton entered the guilty plea under a plea agreement that recommends that he be sentenced to a term of imprisonment within the range of seven to 13 years followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court


Payton was arrested on Oct. 19, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo man on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M., on Oct. 14, 2016. According to the criminal complaint, Payton killed the victim by hitting and kicking him repeatedly during a fight. Payton was subsequently indicted on the same charge on Nov. 15, 2016.


During today’s proceedings, Payton pled guilty to the indictment and admitted killing the victim during a fight on Oct. 14, 2016. Payton remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.


This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline Wilson.

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Updated July 18, 2017