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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Navajo Man Pleads Guilty to Being Accessory After the Fact and Impeding Investigation of Murder in Fruitland

ALBUQUERQUE – Maynard Shirley 37, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Kirtland, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to being an accessory after the fact and impeding an investigation into a murder and assault which occurred in Fruitland, N.M., on March 21, 2015.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Maynard Shirley will be sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

According to court filings, Maynard Shirley and his brothers Elijah Shirley, 31, and Michael Shirley, 32, were charged with murdering a Navajo man and assaulting the murder victim’s father.  According to the criminal complaint, the defendants committed the crimes on March 21, 2015, in Fruitland, N.M., in San Juan County, N.M.  Maynard Shirley, Elijah Shirley and Michael Shirley were indicted on April 14, 2015, and charged with killing one victim by stabbing him with a knife, and assaulting the second victim with a dangerous weapon and causing him to suffer serious bodily injury. 

During today’s proceedings, Maynard Shirley pled guilty to a felony information charging him with being an accessory after the fact as to the offense of voluntary manslaughter.  In entering the guilty plea, Maynard Shirley admitted that from March 21, 2015 through March 23, 2015, he aided Elijah Shirley despite knowledge that Elijah Shirley had committed the crime of voluntary manslaughter.  Maynard Shirley admitted helping Elijah Shirley by transporting him, securing housing for him, and burning his vehicle. 

Michael Shirley pled guilty on Sept. 21, 2016, to an information charging him with being an accessory after the fact.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Michael Shirley will be sentenced to 63 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Elijah Shirley entered a guilty plea on Sept. 21, 2016, to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter, and admitted stabbing and killing the victim in the heat of passion.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Elijah Shirley will be sentenced to 121 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Maynard Shirley, Elijah Shirley and Michael Shirley all remain in custody pending sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled. 

The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock and Kayenta offices of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Niki Tapia-Brito and Nicholas Marshall.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Updated December 13, 2016