U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Arizona
(602) 514-7500
July 11, 2014

Jury Finds Red Valley Man Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter and Use of a Firearm in a Crime of Violence

PHOENIX—On July 9, 2014, Joe Arviso Benally, 51, of Red Valley, Ariz., was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and use (discharge) of a firearm in a crime of violence by a federal jury following a trial before U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow. The defendant was remanded into custody after trial pending sentencing before Judge Snow on Sept. 29, 2014.

The evidence at trial showed that the defendant, after an argument with the victim, retrieved his .270 caliber hunting rifle, loaded it, and shot the victim in the chest, killing him.

A conviction for involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of eight years, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for use (discharge) of a firearm in a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, consecutive to the punishment for the crime of violence.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety. The prosecution was handled by Melissa Karlen and Christina Covault, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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