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Press Release

Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Brandishing a Firearm During a Home Invasion on Santa Clara Pueblo

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Joshua W. Phillips, 20, a member and resident of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, N.M., pled guilty yesterday to brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and DuWayne W. Honahni, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of District IV of BIA’s Office of Justice Services.

Phillips was arrested on June 22, 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, Phillips assaulted a man on Feb. 12, 2011, on Santa Clara Pueblo land within Rio Arriba County, N.M.

During yesterday’s plea hearing, Phillips pled guilty to brandishing a firearm in relation to an assault with a dangerous weapon. In his plea agreement, Phillips admitted that on Feb. 12, 2012, he and an accomplice committed a home invasion in a Santa Clara Pueblo residence for the purpose of robbing the owner. Phillips was armed with a rifle and the accomplice was armed with a knife. After forcing their way into the residence, Phillips fired a round from the rifle into the ceiling when one of the residents failed to comply with his demand for money. When the homeowner attempted to wrest the rifle away from Phillips and prevent Phillips from escaping, the accomplice kicked, punched and stabbed the homeowner so that Phillips could get away.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Phillips will be sentenced to seven years in prison. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

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