ALBUQUERQUE ― Zachariah Nez, 19, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock pleaded guilty June 15 in federal court in Albuquerque to a voluntary manslaughter charge.
The plea agreement recommends a prison sentence within the range of six to 11 years followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Nez was arrested in October 2016 on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo man Oct. 17, 2016 on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County. According to the complaint, Nez killed the victim by striking him with a rock.
Nez was indicted Nov. 1, 2016, and charged with second-degree murder Oct. 17, 2016, in San Juan County.
During today’s proceedings, Nez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter. In entering the guilty plea, Nez admitted that Oct. 17, 2016 he killed the victim by striking him several times with a rock. Nez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Spindle.