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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Navajo Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE – Berland Thomas, 44, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Mexican Springs, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Thomas was arrested on June 9, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with murder.  According to the complaint, Thomas allegedly killed a Navajo man by beating him with his fists during an alcohol-fueled fight.  The fight occurred on June 6, 2014, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M. Thomas was subsequently indicted on June 24, 2014, and charged with second degree murder.

On Feb. 20, 2015, Thomas pled guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and admitted assaulting the victim by striking, beating and wounding him.  Thomas acknowledged that the victim died as a result of injuries suffered during the assault.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback prosecuted the case.

Updated June 2, 2015