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Justice News

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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Navajo Man from Sheep Springs, N.M., Pleads Guilty to Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

ALBUQUERQUE – Bufred Denetclaw, 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Sheep 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, Denetclaw will be sentenced to 100 months in federal prison.

Denetclaw was arrested on June 23, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo man on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M., on June 21, 2014.  The crime occurred during an alcohol-infused argument between Denetclaw and the victim.  Denetclaw was subsequently indicted on June 24, 2015. 

During today’s proceedings, Denetclaw pled guilty to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter.  In entering his guilty plea, Denetclaw admitted that on June 21, 2014, while acting in the heat of passion, he killed the victim by stabbing him in the back three times. 

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elaine Y. Ramirez and Raquel Ruiz-Velez. 

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated February 4, 2016