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Press Release

Shiprock Man Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter

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

ALBUQUERQUE – A Shiprock man pleaded guilty in federal court to voluntary manslaughter for deadly assault on the Navajo Nation Reservation.

According to publicly available court documents, on June 26, 2022, Morrie Lee Begaye, 37, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, started a fight with John Doe at a residence in Shiprock. During the physical altercation, Begaye punched and kick John Doe in the head and body while they were on the ground. John Doe died because of the injuries Begaye inflicted with extreme disregard for human life.

The Court ordered that Begaye remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

At sentencing, Begaye faces up to 15 years in prison. Upon his release from prison, Begaye will be subject to up to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, made the announcement today.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Caitlin L. Dillon and Brittany DuChaussee are prosecuting the case.

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Updated June 18, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-218