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Navajo Man from Sheep Springs sentenced to prison for federal voluntary manslaughter

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ALBUQUERQUE – , 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Sheep Springs, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., to 100 months in prison for his voluntary manslaughter conviction.  Denetclaw will be on supervised release for three years following his prison sentence.

Denetclaw was arrested on June 23, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo man on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M., on June 21, 2014.  The crime occurred during an alcohol-infused argument between Denetclaw and the victim.  Denetclaw was subsequently indicted on June 24, 2015.

On Jan. 28, Denetclaw pled guilty to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter.  In entering his guilty plea, Denetclaw admitted that on June 21, 2014, while acting in the heat of passion, he killed the victim by stabbing him in the back three times.

This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elaine Y. Ramirez and Raquel Ruiz-Velez.

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