Navajo Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conviction on Involuntary Manslaughter and Assault Charges
ALBUQUERQUE—Joshua Rakestraw, 25, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Farmington, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 48 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on involuntary manslaughter and assault charges.
Rakestraw was arrested on Nov. 3, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a Navajo woman and assaulting a Navajo man, causing him to suffer serious bodily injury, on Oct. 28, 2014. The complaint alleged that Rakestraw committed these crimes while under the influence of alcohol in Indian Country in San Juan County, N.M. According to court filings, Rakestraw killed one victim and seriously injured the other victim by running over them with his vehicle at Morgan Lake, south of Kirtland, N.M. At the time, Rakestraw was under the influence of alcohol.
On June 19, 2015, Rakestraw pled guilty to a felony information charging him with involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. In entering the guilty plea, Rakestraw admitted that on Oct. 28, 2014, at Morgan Lake he drove his truck forward, striking both victims as he drove his truck over them. One of the victims died and the other victim suffered several injuries including a dislocated hip and a broken rib.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shammara Henderson prosecuted the case.