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Press Release

Navajo man in court accused of murder in Indian Country

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

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Josiah Smith, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, made an initial appearance in federal court today facing a charge of murder in Indian Country. Smith will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Aug. 26.

According to a criminal complaint, on May 17, Smith allegedly shot and killed the victim, identified as John Doe, at a residence near Church Rock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation. Smith, who had arrived at the residence earlier in the day, allegedly fired into a window from outside the home, striking the victim and killing him.

The FBI, with the assistance of the McKinley County Sheriff's Office and Gallup Police Department, arrested Smith in Gamerco, New Mexico, on Aug. 21.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Smith faces up to life in prison.

            The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Elisa Dimas is prosecuting the case.

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Updated August 25, 2021

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 21-166