Federal appeals court upholds man's conviction in Shiprock shooting spree

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A federal appeals court has upheld the 2013 conviction of a 30-year-old man who was found guilty of shooting three people and killing one at a party near Shiprock in July 2010.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Clay O'Brien Mann was rightfully convicted under federal law of using a firearm in the commission of a violent offense.

After a five-day trial in Albuquerque, Mann was convicted in July 2013 of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of discharging a firearm during the commission of a violent offense, according to Daily Times archives.

On the night of July 23, 2010, Mann was drinking alcohol and shooting fireworks at his common-law wife's home near U.S. Highway 491 in Shiprock, according to the appeals court's decision.

His next-door neighbors, Glenn and Paula Nez, were hosting a backyard party at their home on the same day to raise money for a Yei'Bi'Chei healing ceremony, the decision states.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., Mann threw a lit firework over the fence that separated the two properties and opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle on the people attending the party at the Nez house, according to the decision.

He shot Ames Jim in the face and chest, killing him. Paula Nez and Mark Bolding were injured in the shooting spree but survived, the decision states.

Mann fled the residence, the decision states, but was arrested by federal agents within hours of the shooting.

Mann was sentenced to 14 years and three months in prison. He appealed his conviction for using a firearm in the commission of a violent offense, claiming that the jury's instructions related to the offense were unclear.

The circuit court ruled Monday that Mann failed to establish that an error was made in the jury instructions, much less that the error affected his rights under the law.

Mann is expected to be released from prison in 2022, according to jail records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.