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Press Release

Second Defendant Charged with Second Degree Murder in Death of Navajo Man

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced that Keon Apachito was charged with murder in the second degree. Apachito, 21, of To'Hajiilee, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, appeared in federal court for a detention hearing and was released to a halfway house pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

According to an indictment, on May 28, 2022, along with two others, Apachito and co-defendant Cole Ray Shorty allegedly beat the victim in retaliation for stealing an item from Shorty. The victim died from their injuries at the University of New Mexico Hospital on May 30, 2022. The incident occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Apachito faces up to 17 years in prison.

Cole Ray Shorty, 19, was arraigned on Sept. 13, 2022, and will remain in custody pending trial. If convicted, Shorty faces up to 17 years in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Brittany DuChaussee is prosecuting the case.

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Updated May 25, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-110