Man charged with second-degree murder in beating death

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A man has been charged with second-degree murder after allegedly killing a man at a residence west of the chapter house in Sanostee.

Tyrone Atcitty Nez, 33, was charged last week and appeared for an initial hearing on the case on June 13 in federal court in Albuquerque, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The criminal complaint filed on June 10 states that officers from the Navajo Police Department responded to the place where Nez was living in Sanostee on the evening of June 8.

When officers arrived, the complaint stated, they found Nez on his knees with his hands behind his back and he claimed to have assaulted the man, identified in the court document as John Doe.

The man was found lying unresponsive inside the residence.

"Emergency Medical Services were unable to resuscitate John Doe," the complaint states.

Neighbors told police the men appeared to be intoxicated and they stumbled while exiting and entering the home.

They also stated that Nez left the residence to yell obscenities to neighbors but returned home after the neighbors threatened to call the police.

"Ten to 15 minutes after Nez returned to the inside of the residence where John Doe was left, Nez came out screaming for his neighbors to call 911 requesting medical assistance for himself and John Doe," the complaint states.

The homeowner consented to a search by law enforcement. Officers investigated the scene and found John Doe with apparent blunt force trauma to his face, which was swollen and covered in blood.

Nez was arrested then transported to the detention facility in Crownpoint and placed on a 36-hour hold.

In an interview with the FBI and the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations, Nez initially claimed self-defense but, after further questioning, the complaint stated that he admitted to punching John Doe one time which rendered him unconscious.

"After John Doe fell to the ground, Nez realized John Doe was unconscious and began stomping on his face five to 10 times repeatedly with his boots. During the time he was stomping on his face. John Doe was unresponsive," the complaint states.

When asked why he was defending himself, Nez said while they were drinking, John Doe would wrap his arms around Nez as if to put him in chokeholds and hit him in the stomach.

Nez remains in custody and has preliminary and detention hearings scheduled on June 15, according to court documents.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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