Pinehill Resident Faces Charges of Murder and Assault in Indigenous Territories

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January 24, 2024, 5:30 pm

By: ABQRAW staff

Posted: 01/24/2024 @ 10:25 AM

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Alexander M.M. Uballez, the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office, have announced that Ellery Brent Yazzie made an appearance in federal court in connection with a criminal complaint. The charges against him include murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Yazzie, a 36-year-old Pinehill resident and enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, will be held in custody until the trial, the schedule for which is currently undetermined.

According to the criminal complaint, on the morning of December 22, 2023, the Ramah Navajo Police Department received an emergency call from a witness reporting that Ellery Brent Yazzie had shot his father, sister, and brother at a residence in Pinehill following a verbal argument. Upon arriving at the scene, officers discovered the two males deceased, while Yazzie was found alive with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The witness had attempted to transport the third victim to the hospital but connected with an ambulance en route, which then transported the victim to Zuni Hospital. Physicians informed an FBI special agent that the victim had sustained life-threatening injuries and would not have survived without timely medical care. All victims were enrolled members of the Navajo Nation.

It is crucial to note that a criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted on the current charges, Yazzie could face up to life in prison.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office led the investigation with assistance from the Ramah Navajo Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Caitlin L. Dillon and Jena Ritchey are handling the prosecution of the case.

View the Indictment HERE.

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