Shiprock man pleads guilty to killing man with rock

The Daily Times staff


Zachariah Nez


FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man has pleaded guilty to a voluntary manslaughter charge for killing a Navajo man in Sanostee with a rock. 

Zachariah Nez, 19, entered the guilty plea today in federal court in Albuquerque as part of a plea agreement, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release. 

He was arrested on Oct. 19, after the unidentified victim was found the day before near the community's old school with injuries to his face, according to The Daily Times archives.

Nez was indicted on Nov. 1, for a second-degree murder charge.

As part of the guilty plea, Nez admitted to striking the man several times with a rock. 

A rock was located next to the body of the victim by law enforcement officials who stated the rock had "a red substance on a large portion" of its surface, according to court documents.

A male witness told investigators Nez and the victim were at the witness' house for several hours and had been drinking before the incident, according to court documents.

Nez could receive a prison sentence of six to 11 years followed by an undetermined period of supervised release, according to the press release.

A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.