ALBUQUERQUE—Jeffrey J. Franklin, 31, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Albuquerque to violating the federal firearms laws by discharging a firearm during an act of violence.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Franklin will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Franklin was arrested in August 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and abusing a child by placing the child in a situation that could endanger the child’s life. The complaint alleged that Franklin committed these crimes Aug. 9, 2014, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County.
According to the complaint, Franklin assaulted four Indian women and two Indian children by firing shots while inside the residence of one of the victims and by firing shots at the victims’ vehicles. Two children were inside one of the vehicles when Franklin shot at the vehicle.
Franklin was subsequently indicted Nov. 19, 2014, and charged with four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm, negligently placing minors in a situation that endangered the children’s health, and two counts of using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Franklin pled guilty to one count of using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Novaline D. Wilson and Kyle T. Nayback are prosecuting the case.
The case was brought 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.