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Press Release

Navajo Man from Shiprock Sentenced to Six Years for Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Zachariah Nez, 22, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to six years in prison for his conviction on a voluntary manslaughter charge.  Nez will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.


Nez was arrested in Oct. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo man on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M., on Oct. 17, 2016.  According to the complaint, Nez killed the victim by striking him with a rock.


Nez was indicted on Nov. 1, 2016, and charged with second-degree murder on Oct. 17, 2016, in San Juan County. 


On June 15, 2017, Nez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter.  In entering the guilty plea, Nez admitted that on Oct. 17, 2016, he killed the victim by striking him several times with a rock. 


This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Spindle.

Updated October 11, 2017

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime