Charley Joe Jr. pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter earlier this year



FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison following the slaying of his brother with an ax in September 2016.

Charley Joe Jr., 68, was sentenced to six years and six months of prison time Tuesday in Albuquerque federal court on a voluntary manslaughter conviction, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Charley Joe Jr. initially was accused of murder in the death of his brother, 66-year-old Jonathan Joe, who was found dead on Sept. 16, 2016, at his residence near Mesa Farm Road in Shiprock.

Charley Joe Jr.  was arrested the night of Sept. 16, 2016, at the Shiprock Chapter house during a family meeting to discuss funeral arrangements for Jonathan Joe, according to The Daily Times archives.

Jonathan Joe was identified as John Doe in the criminal complaint, but family members told The Daily Times the victim was Jonathan Joe during a family meeting on Sept. 19, 2016.

Court documents recently filed in the case also include Jonathan Joe as the victim.

The elder Joe brother, Charley P Joe, said in a telephone interview Charley Joe Jr. should have been given the maximum sentence by the judge for the death of Jonathan Joe.

A defendant could be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison on a voluntary manslaughter conviction.

Charley P Joe blamed his brother's alcoholism as one of the reasons for him killing Jonathan Joe.

"That's why he killed his brother," Charley P Joe said. "He broke all of our traditional beliefs of being a Navajo."

He previously told The Daily Times that Charley Joe Jr. used to instigate drunken fights with Jonathan Joe when they used to live together.

Joe's sister, Lula Jackson, declined comment on the sentencing.

A grand jury on Oct. 12, 2016, indicted Charley Joe Jr. on a count of voluntary manslaughter. A week later, he pleaded not guilty to the charge, according to court documents.

It was during a March 23 hearing that Charley Joe Jr. changed his plea to guilty without a plea agreement in place, according to court documents. He was set for a trial to start on March 27.

More: Family identifies man in Shiprock homicide

Brother charged in Shiprock man's murder

Jonathan Joe was founded dead in his residence on the morning of Sept. 16, 2016. He was found with ax wounds to his lower back, upper chest, abdomen, left arm and head, the criminal complaint states. He lived in a hogan on the property on Fifth Lane near Mesa Farm Road.

After completing the terms of his prison sentence, Charley Joe Jr. will have three years of supervised release.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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