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Brother charged in Shiprock man's murder

Charley Joe Jr. is scheduled to appear at a detention and preliminary examination hearing on Thursday, the same say his brother is expected to be buried

Steve Garrison
stgarrison@daily-times.com
Community members gather on Monday at the Shiprock Chapter house to talk about funeral arrangements for Jonathan Joe.
  • Charley Joe Jr. has been accused of murder in the death of his 66-year-old brother, Jonathan Joe.
  • A criminal complaint filed in federal court indicates Jonathan Joe was killed with an ax.
  • Family members say the two brothers the brothers used to live together, but Charley Joe Jr. would instigate drunken fights. Charley Joe Jr. lived in a hogan on the property, according to investigators.
  • Charley Joe Jr. was arrested Friday at the Shiprock Chapter house during a meeting about funeral arrangements.

FARMINGTON — Charley Joe Jr. was arraigned this morning, accused of murder in the death of his 66-year-old brother, Jonathan Joe, a farmer and rancher who was found dead Friday morning of ax wounds at his residence near Mesa Farm Road in Shiprock.

Charley Joe Jr. appeared in Farmington Municipal Court in shackles and an orange jumpsuit, and requested a court-appointed attorney. The Joe family attended the hearing.

Charley Joe Jr. declined to comment about the murder.

A detention and preliminary examination hearing for Charley Joe Jr. is scheduled for Thursday. Jonathan Joe is scheduled to be buried that same day.

The FBI said Friday the bureau and tribal investigators were investigating the homicide of an adult man at his residence near Mesa Farm Road, but as of today the FBI had not released more information about the incident, including the victim’s name.

However, the Joe family said Monday at a meeting at the Shiprock Chapter house that the murdered man was Jonathan Joe, a resident on Fifth Lane near Mesa Farm Road.

A photograph of Jonathan Joe is displayed Monday at the Shiprock Chapter house.

A criminal complaint filed today in federal court indicates Jonathan Joe was killed with an ax.

Investigators found Jonathan Joe, identified as "John Doe" in the criminal complaint, dead Friday morning near the front door of his residence. A blood-stained ax was resting against the residence's wall, and Joe had ax wounds to his head, left arm, upper chest, abdomen and lower back, according to the complaint.

Investigators learned Charley Joe Jr. lived in a hogan on the property, the complaint states.

Charley P. Joe, brother of Jonathan Joe and Charley Joe Jr., said this morning at the arraignment that the brothers used to live together in the residence, but Charley Joe Jr. would instigate drunken fights with Jonathan Joe.

Investigators searched the hogan and found a handwritten note that read: "F--- Off; he's dead; in Farmington; I said please, but, so f--- know some one," according to the complaint.

The Joe family held a meeting Friday night at the Shiprock Chapter house to discuss funeral arrangements, and Charley Joe Jr. was arrested there, the complaint states.

Investigators noted Charley Joe Jr. had brownish-red-colored stains on his blue jeans and shoes when he was arrested. He also had a black eye and appeared intoxicated, according to the complaint.

Charley Joe Jr. was questioned at the Shiprock jail, and he admitted he struck his brother with the ax Thursday night during an argument, the complaint states.

Charley Joe Jr. claimed his brother pushed him and punched him during the argument, according to the complaint.

He told investigators he fled the residence after the fight and caught a ride from someone else to Shiprock.

Family, friends and community members line up on Monday to donate money toward Jonathan Joe's funeral expenses during a meeting at the Shiprock Chapter house.

Charley P. Joe said this morning that alcohol was likely a factor in his brother's murder, but that did not excuse the crime. 

“He will use it as an excuse, but he knows what he did,” Charley P. Joe said about the defendant. “He has ears, nose, arms and eyes. He has the sense to know what he did.”

Charley P. Joe and Jonathan Joe’s niece, Stella John, said they suspected Charley Joe Jr. was responsible for the murder.

“But we hoped it wasn’t true,” John said.

John said she still wanted to see the evidence that implicated Charley Joe Jr.

"He is still our uncle," John said. "And we still love him. There is such things as forgiveness, even though I am very much upset."

Charley P. Joe said the family is still seeking financial assistance to pay for Jonathan Joe’s burial.

Charley P. Joe said Monday night anyone who wishes to contribute can contact him at 505-406-2525.

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