Man found near Gallup Flea Market identified

April 11, 2013

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G ALLUP - Gallup city police Tuesday released the name of the man who was found hanging on a fence post south of the Gallup Flea Market on Saturday.

The man was Julian James, 44, of Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Family members called police Monday after they got word that an unidentified body had been found and police were trying to identify him.

Gallup Detective Victor Rodriguez said he was told by family members that James had come into Gallup looking for a job and then had separated from his brothers earlier in the day.

James' body was discovered at about 5 p.m. April 6 hanging from a fence post with a bandanna. Police believe he had been there no longer than two hours before he was found.

Rodriguez said police are still looking at it as an apparent suicide but that they will know more after an autopsy is done.

Tohajilee man sentenced to 40 years in prison

ALBUQUERQUE - It was a crime spree that is still being talked about by residents of the small Navajo community of Tohajilee, N.M. - Jerome Yazzie's 15 years of crimes ranging from auto burglary to kidnapping.

The community won't have to worry about him for some time as a federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Yazzie, 37, to 40 years in prison after his latest convictions on aggravated burglary, robbery, kidnapping and firearms charges.

Part of the reason for the lengthy sentence is due to the fact that Yazzie already has 13 prior adult convictions.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Kennth Gonzales said, "The lengthy sentence imposed on Yazzie appropriately penalizes him for a long list of federal felonies committed in a single night and the terror he inflicted on his innocent victims. Yazzie has long been a menace to the community of Tohajiilee, and I commend the FBI and the Navajo Division of Public Safety for making Tohajiilee safer by making sure that Yazzie spends the next 40 years of his life in prison."

A federal jury convicted Yazzie on Oct. 18, 2012 on a seven-count indictment charging him with two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of robbery, one count of kidnapping, two counts of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The evidence at the trial established that in the early hours of June 3, 2011, Yazzie forced two teenagers to accompany him as he engaged in a crime spree that included burglarizing two residences in Tohajiilee at gunpoint, committing a robbery, kidnapping a young man, and discharging his firearm.

Yazzie, who was armed with a loaded shotgun, went to the first residence, which was occupied by a teenager and a young man, and kicked open the door. After bursting into the residence, he discharged his shotgun and ordered the two teenagers who accompanied him to restrain the teenager and the young man, while he burglarized the residence.

Yazzie continued to the second residence, which was occupied by a couple and their infant. Knowing that the couple would not voluntarily let him into their home because he unsuccessfully had attempted to gain entry earlier that day, Yazzie attempted to trick the couple by having the young man from the first residence lure them into opening the door.

Yazzie released the young man from his restraints, forced him to walk to the second residence at gunpoint, and demanded that he convince the couple to open the door.

When the couple refused to open the door, Yazzie attempted unsuccessfully to force his way into the residence. Yazzie then walked the young man back to the first residence and, after restraining him again, Yazzie returned to the second residence.

During Yazzie's absence, the couple took their infant and fled from their home.  Upon his return, Yazzie forced his way into the second residence and ransacked the place, stealing cash, an X-box, a computer and other electronics.

"It is the FBI's priority to protect all the communities throughout the state of New Mexico. In this case, a part of the Navajo Nation is safer with the sentencing of Mr. Yazzie, who has been found responsible for a string of violent acts in the Tohajiilee community," said FBI Special Agent Carol Lee.

"The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to work together to ensure the safety and security of all New Mexico communities, to include the Pueblos and reservations," she said.

"I am proud of the outstanding work that the tribal officers and criminal investigators of the Navajo Nation perform every day to safeguard the Navajo people," said Navajo Division of Public safety Director John Billison. "Working with our partners at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office better enables us to hold serious repeat offenders like Jerome Yazzie accountable, resulting in safer communities for the Navajo people."

N.M. man convicted of involuntary manslaughter

ALBUQUERQUE – A Cudei, N.M. man was sentenced to prison?on April 4 after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Jervis Wilson, 20, was sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.

In November 2012, Wilson pled guilty to killing Herman Willeto, a 52-year-old Navajo man, while driving under the influence of alcohol on March 2, 2012 on U.S. Highway 64 outside of Shiprock, N.M.

According to court records, on March 2, 2012, Wilson drank alcohol and then drove a vehicle recklessly. As he attempted to pass other vehicles at a greater rate of speed than the flow of traffic, Wilson struck a Jeep, causing property damage but not injuring the Jeep's two occupants.

Wilson continued driving at a high rate of speed and sideswiped a Dodge sedan, causing moderate damage to the sedan and minor injuries to the driver.

As Wilson continued to drive, his vehicle struck a Ford truck that was towing an excavator on a flatbed trailer.

Willeto, the driver of the truck, was killed on impact. Wilson's blood alcohol level was 0.23 when his blood was drawn within three hours of the collision.

Police suspect Gallup man is hiding out in Window Rock

Gallup police are looking for a man in the Window Rock area who has been charged with false imprisonment, aggravated battery on a household member and criminal damage to property.

According to police, Lorenzo Shaw, 57, who lives with his girlfriend on West Jefferson Avenue in Gallup, got into a fight with the girlfriend last Thursday during which he allegedly hit her several times in the face and dragged her from the living room to the kitchen, causing her to chip one of her teeth.

He is also accused of breaking the victim's large screen television during the attack.

Police said they suspect that he is now living with friend or family in the Window Rock area.

Anyone with any information about the suspect is asked to contact Gallup Police Detective Victor Rodriquez at 505-863-9365.

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