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Press Release

Nenahnezad Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Arson Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Gregory Bitsilly, 28, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Nenahnezad, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon to 24 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his arson conviction.

Bitsilly was arrested in March 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with arson.  He was indicted on that same charge in April 2014.  According to court filings, Bitsilly set fire to the residence he shared with his wife and children on March 24, 2014, because his wife was attempting to leave him for being physically abusive.  The residence and its contents were a total loss.

On June 25, 2014, Bitsilly admitted willfully and maliciously setting fire to the home he resided in with his wife and children on March 24, 2014. 

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams. 

The case was brought pursuant to 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 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.

Updated January 26, 2015