ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Laurice Montoya, 37, appeared in federal court on March 28 for a preliminary and detention hearing facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter in Indian Country. Montoya will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.
According to a criminal complaint, on Jan. 19, at Montoya’s home on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, Montoya allegedly began arguing with a man, identified in court records as John Doe, who had been staying with her since December 2021. Montoya was walking behind John Doe when she allegedly pushed him over a couch. Montoya helped John Doe to his feet, but then allegedly hit him twice across the back of his head with a snow shovel.
About four hours later, a friend showed up at the residence and called 911. Emergency Medical Services of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe transported John Doe to the San Juan Regional Medical Center where he later died. Doctors found that John Doe had sustained traumatic brain injury, a rib fracture, severe bruising on his upper body and two cuts on his scalp.
Montoya and John Doe are both enrolled members of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe.
A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Montoya faces up to 15 years in prison.
The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Jicarilla Apache Police and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Aliberti is prosecuting the case.
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