Church Rock Man Sentenced to 162 Months in Federal Prison on Second-Degree Murder Conviction
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 13, 2013|
ALBUQUERQUE—Danny Dan Don Brown, 25, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Church Rock, New Mexico, was sentenced this afternoon to 162 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for his second-degree murder conviction. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,200 to cover the cost of the victim’s funeral and related expenses.
Brown and his co-defendant, Melvyn Lee Morgan, 29, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, New Mexico, were arrested on December 27, 2011, based on a criminal complaint charging them with the December 3, 2011 murder of Robert L. Smith, also a member of the Navajo Nation. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the murder was committed in Church Rock, which is within the Navajo Indian Reservation. Brown and Morgan, who have been in federal custody since their arrests, were indicted on January 24, 2012, and charged with second-degree murder.
According to court records, late on the night of December 3, 2011, Brown, Morgan and the victim were involved in a fight after drinking alcohol. During the fight, Brown and Morgan repeatedly kicked and punched the victim, who died as a result of injuries he sustained. Brown entered a guilty plea to the indictment in March 2013.
Morgan has entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and is scheduled for trial on July 8, 2013. The charges in the indictment as to Morgan are only accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI and the Crownpoint Office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, with assistance from the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.