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Navajo Man Receives 10-Year Prison Sentence for Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 12, 2012
  • District of New Mexico (505) 346-7274

ALBUQUERQUE—This afternoon, a U.S. District Judge in Albuquerque sentenced Derrick Frank, 22, to a 10-year term of imprisonment for his voluntary manslaughter conviction. Frank, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Navajo, New Mexico, will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence. Frank also is required to pay $1071.79 to cover funeral costs for his victim.

On January 3, 2011, Frank was charged in a criminal complaint with killing Ty Smith, a 23-year-old Navajo man, on December 31, 2010, in the heat of passion and during a sudden quarrel and fight at a residence in Navajo, which is located within the Navajo Indian Reservation. On January 17, 2011, Frank was arrested; he has been in federal custody since that time.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Frank pled guilty to an information charging him with voluntary manslaughter on September 1, 2011. In entering his guilty plea, Frank admitted killing Smith on December 31, 2010 by stabbing him three times with a knife. According to Frank’s plea agreement, Frank and Smith were engaged in an argument that was fueled by alcohol, and the verbal confrontation escalated to a physical fight that culminated in the stabbing.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, Window Rock Division, and was prosecuted by Jack E. Burkhead.

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