Home Albuquerque Press Releases 2012 Jicarilla Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge Involving Death of 3-Year-Old

Jicarilla Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge Involving Death of 3-Year-Old

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 16, 2012
  • District of New Mexico (505) 346-7274

ALBUQUERQUE—This morning in federal court, Jay Rutherford Paiz, 31, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation who resides in Dulce, New Mexico, entered a guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During today’s plea hearing, Paiz admitted killing his 3-year-old son on July 20, 2008, at his residence, which is located on the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said.

Court records reflect that Paiz was arrested on July 22, 2008, on a criminal complaint charging him with attempting to kill or to commit manslaughter of his 3-year-old son through a pattern of child abuse.

According to court filings, on July 20, 2008, the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department and EMS responded to a call from Paiz’s residence and observed Paiz walking towards them with his unresponsive son in his arms. A medical examination revealed that the child had multiple bruises on his head, ears, back, legs, pelvis, and penis, which were in different stages of healing.

The victim required emergency surgery to release blood on the brain sustained from a head injury. The following day, the child’s condition deteriorated, and he had a “non-functioning brain” with a “grave prognosis.” After the victim died of head injuries on July 23, 2008, Paiz was indicted on a first-degree murder charge.

Today, Paiz pled guilty to an information charging him with second-degree murder. Paiz’s plea agreement reflects that he had custody of the child victim since July 9, 2008. Paiz admitted spanking and whipping the child with a belt because he would not listen. He also admitted that, on July 20, 2008, he was rough-housing with the child and his other son and that the victim hit his head on the wall when Paiz threw him on the bed. Paiz also admitted that he was intoxicated at the time he was rough-housing with his sons.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Paiz faces a sentence of not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years of imprisonment. Paiz has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Gallup Office of the FBI, with assistance from the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.