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Press Release


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

ALBUQUERQUE – Yesterday a U.S. Magistrate Judge sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., ordered Terry Demetri Tsethlikai, 26, a member of Zuni Pueblo who resides in Black Rock, N.M., detained pending trial on an indictment charging him with manslaughter and assault charges.  Tsethlikai previously entered a not guilty plea to the three-count indictment on July 24, 2019.

            A federal grand jury indicted Tsethlikai on June 27, 2019, and charged him with voluntary manslaughter, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and assault with a dangerous weapon.  According to the indictment, Tsethlikai allegedly unlawfully killed a male victim during a sudden quarrel; assaulted a female victim, causing her to suffer serious bodily injury; and assaulted a second male victim with a knife. The indictment alleges that Tsethlikai committed the three offenses in Indian Country in McKinley County, N.M., on November 23, 2018. 

Tsethlikai was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service on July 22, 2019, at the Zuni Detention Center, where he was in custody on related tribal charges.

If convicted, Tsethlikai faces up to fifteen years of imprisonment on the manslaughter charge, and up to ten years of imprisonment on each of the two assault charges.  Charges in indictments are only allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Gallup office of the FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Pueblo of Zuni Tribal Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Aliberti is prosecuting the case.

Updated August 7, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-123