Skip to main content
Press Release

Non-Indian Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting an Indian During a Home Invasion on Santa Clara Pueblo

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Cristian K. Watson, 20, a resident of Tierra Azul, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a felony information charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Watson was arrested on Feb. 27, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and with the intent to do bodily harm.  According to the criminal complaint, Watson assaulted an enrolled member of the Shoshone Band of Indians who was living in Santa Clara Pueblo during a home invasion on Feb. 12, 2012.

During today’s plea hearing, Watson entered a guilty plea to an assault charge and admitted assaulting the victim on Feb. 12, 2012.  Court records reflect that on that day, Watson and an accomplice, Joshua Phillips, 21, a member and resident of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, committed a home invasion at a Santa Clara Pueblo residence for the purpose of robbing the owner.  Watson admitted repeatedly stabbing the victim, who lived in the residence, while helping Phillips steal pills from the victim.  In his plea agreement, Watson acknowledged that the victim sustained five puncture wounds as a result of the assault, each of which required multiple staples to close.

A sentencing, Watson faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.  Watson remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Phillips previously entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with aiding and abetting an assault resulting in serious bodily injury and was sentenced on Dec. 13, 2013, to ten months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Northern Pueblos Agency, with assistance from the Santa Clara Pueblo Tribal Police Department and the Espanola Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Presiliano A. Torrez.

Updated January 26, 2015