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Press Release

Zia Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Domestic Assault by a Habitual Offender Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

ALBUQUERQUE – Terrence Shije, 37, an enrolled member and resident of Zia Pueblo, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a domestic assault by a habitual offender charge.


Shije was arrested on June 2, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with domestic assault of an intimate partner by a habitual offender on May 16, 2017.  According to the complaint, Shije caused the victim to suffer bruising and swelling to her face. 


Shije was indicted on June 28, 2017, and was charged with assault of an intimate partner resulting in substantial bodily injury and domestic assault by a habitual offender.  According to the indictment, Shije committed the crime on May 16, 2017, on Zia Pueblo in Sandoval County, N.M.  Shije was charged as a habitual offender based on his two prior domestic violence convictions in the Pueblo of Zia Tribal Court in June 2015 and Aug. 2016.


During today’s proceedings, Shije pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with domestic assault by a habitual offender.  In entering the guilty plea, Shije admitted that on May 16, 2017, he assaulted the victim by slapping her face and punching her eye because he did not want her to leave the residence.  Shije further admitted that as the result of the assault, the victim, who was then pregnant, suffered swelling, bumps and bruising near her eye and eye socket.  Shije also admitted that he previously had been convicted on battery on a household member charges in Zia Tribal Court in June 2015 and Aug. 2016.


At sentencing, Shije faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.


This case was investigated by the Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA, Office of Justice Services.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy B. Solimon pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico, which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

Updated October 6, 2017

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime