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Justice News

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

Monday, August 20, 2018

Navajo Man from Shiprock Sentenced to 161 Months in Prison for Second-Degree Murder Conviction

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native America Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Jerry Johnson, Jr., 57, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 161 months in prison for his second-degree murder conviction.  Johnson will be on supervised release for five years after completing his prison sentence.

The FBI arrested Johnson in July 2017 and charged him by criminal complaint with murdering a Navajo woman on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M.  According to the complaint, on June 26, 2017, Johnson struck the victim in the head with his fist, and then retrieved a knife and stabbed her in the back.  Johnson was indicted on a second-degree murder charge on Dec. 20, 2017.

On April 27, 2018, Johnson pled guilty to the indictment.  In entering the guilty plea, Johnson admitted that on June 26, 2017, he killed the victim by hitting her, and stabbing her once in the back with a kitchen knife.  

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer M. Rozzoni prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native American women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated August 20, 2018