FBI probes possible murder-suicide

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

GALLUP, Feb. 20, 2014

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The FBI reported on Feb. 10 that it is investigating the death of a man and woman that occurred at Casamero Lake, some 20 miles east of Thoreau.

The bodies of a man and woman were discovered in the front cab of a pickup truck about 3 a.m. Saturday. A handgun was found in the vehicle, leading to speculation that it may have been a murder-suicide but an FBI press release on Monday said this was still not confirmed.

Witnesses told FBI officials that they heard a couple arguing near Prewitt, N.M., then a gunshot. The vehicle was found about 10 miles from there, with the two dead bodies inside.

A report by the McKinley County Sheriff's Office said sheriff deputies also responded to the call. When they got there, they waited for Navajo Nation police to show up and observed a double-cab pickup nearby with its lights on and its engine running.

When Navajo police showed up, they went to the cab and found the two bodies in the front seat.

Sheriff's Deputy Robert Turney said he saw a black semi-automatic handgun in the driver's side door pocket that had the slide locked back.

"I observed one empty cartridge casing behind the driver's seat, two on the passenger seat and two on the passenger floorboard," he wrote in his report.

Man pleads guilty to house arson

GALLUP -- Dan Curtis Thompson, 32, of Shiprock, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Albuquerque Tuesday to a federal arson charge.

Thompson and his twin sister, Christina Thompson, were arrested last October on an indictment charging them with willfully and maliciously setting fire to an occupied rental unit at the Navajo Housing Authority in Ojo Amarillo, N.M., located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, on Jan. 9, 2013.

On Tuesday, Thompson pled guilty to the charge and admitted setting fire to his former girlfriend's residence.

In his plea agreement, Thompson admitted that he had resided in the victim's apartment until the victim ejected him after he had a "forceful physical interaction" with the victim. Thompson admitted that as his resentment toward the victim grew, he began putting into place plans to burn her residence.

Thompson stated that his sister drove him to the victim's residence on Jan. 9, 2013, where he shattered a window so he could unlock the door and enter the residence. Once inside, Thompson poured gasoline in the residence. After igniting the gasoline, Thompson fled from the residence with his sister's assistance.

In his plea agreement, Thompson admitted that he did not check to see if anyone was in the residence when he lit the fire. He further admitted that he burned the victim's residence to retaliate against the victim.

Thompson has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Thompson faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Christina Thompson has entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and remains on conditions of release pending trial, which is currently set for April 14, 2014.

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