U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
March 30, 2015

Three Men and a Woman Arrested on Federal Charges Arising from of March 21, 2015 Homicide and Assault in Fruitland

ALBUQUERQUE—Three brothers, all enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, were arrested last week on a criminal complaint charging them with murder and assault offenses arising out of a homicide and an assault that occurred in Fruitland, N.M., on March 21, 2015. Also arrested was a Navajo woman who impeded law enforcement efforts to apprehend the three men. The arrests were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director John Billison of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.

Elijah Shirley, 30, and Michael Shirley, 31, both of Kirtland, N.M., and Maynard Shirley, 36, who until recently resided in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, are charged in a criminal complaint with the murder of a Navajo man and an assault on the murder victim’s father on March 21, 2015, in Fruitland in San Juan County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, Elijah Shirley, Maynard Shirley and Michael Shirley allegedly broke into the victims’ residence in the early hours of March 21, 2015, and assaulted the victims with a machete-like knife and a gun. One victim allegedly died as a result of a stab wound to the chest and the second victim allegedly suffered serious bodily injuries, including a collapsed lung and multiple stab wounds, during the attack.

Elijah Shirley was arrested on March 25, 2015, and his brothers Maynard Shirley and Michael Shirley were arrested on March 27, 2015. Elijah and Maynard Shirley were ordered detained pending trial during federal court proceedings held in Albuquerque, N.M., earlier today. Michael Shirley remains in custody pending a detention hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

Arnelia Williams, 25, was arrested on March 27, 2015, on a separate criminal complaint charging her with being an accessory after the fact for hindering and preventing the apprehension of Maynard and Michael Shirley. During today’s court proceedings, Williams was also ordered detained pending a detention hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

If convicted on the charges in the criminal complaint, Elijah Shirley, Maynard Shirley and Michael Shirley each face a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison on the murder charge and a ten-year prison sentence on the assault charge. Williams faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted for being an accessory after the fact. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

These cases were investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Kayenta and Shiprock offices of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Mott.

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