Man pleads to murder in St. Pat's stabbings

Steve Garrison

FARMINGTON — A 27-year-old local man charged with murder in a double stabbing on St. Patrick's Day 2015 has pleaded guilty to lesser charges in an agreement with the state.

Zack Tsosie

Zack Tsosie pleaded guilty Monday in district court to second-degree murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony. He was facing charges of an open count of murder, attempted first-degree murder, tampering with evidence and bribery of a witness.

Tsosie will be sentenced Oct. 11 to 15 years in prison followed by two years parole as part of the agreement.

Farmington police were dispatched to the 7-2-11 convenience store at 800 W. Main St. in Farmington the night of March 13, 2015, after 23-year-old Kimberly Nez stumbled into the store bleeding from multiple stab wounds to her chest and stomach, according to The Daily Times archives.

Nez told police that a man stabbed her and her boyfriend at the bridge on North Airport Drive near West Arrington Street, the archives state. Nez's boyfriend, 27-year-old Chancellor Tso, was found at the scene with a fatal stab wound to the chest, according to archives.

Police arrested Tsosie near the scene.. He had blood on his hands and pants, and a knife was found wrapped in his hooded sweatshirt, according to archives.

Tsosie said he had been drinking at his residence at 1001 Walnut Drive when he decided to walk to a local movie rental store, the archives state. He could not explain how he got blood on his pants, according to archives.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said today that his office declined to pursue a first-degree murder charge because it would be difficult to prove the murder was premeditated. O'Brien said premeditation meant the defendant considered the consequences of his action and weighed the decision before the murder.

He said Tsosie was intoxicated and the crime appeared senseless — both factors that weighed against premeditation.

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 years in prison, as opposed to life imprisonment for first-degree murder.

Tsosie's attorney, Tom Clark, said he was satisfied with the agreement.

"Based on the discovery, all the parties agreed it was a fair plea," Clark said.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.