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Press Release

Smith Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office, announced that Josiah Alan Smith, 29, of Smith Lake and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pled guilty in federal court to second degree murder. Smith will remain in custody pending sentencing which has not been scheduled.

According to court documents on May 17, 2021, Smith shot and killed the victim, identified as John Doe, at a residence near Church Rock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation. Smith, who had arrived at the residence earlier in the day, allegedly fired into a window from outside the home, striking the victim in the back and killing him.

The FBI, with the assistance of the McKinley County Sheriff's Office and Gallup Police Department, arrested Smith in Gamerco, New Mexico, on Aug. 21, 2021.

At sentencing, Smith faces up to life in prison.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations and the McKinley County Sheriff's Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew T. Nelson and Blake Nichols are prosecuting the case.

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Updated August 10, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-177