Navajo Nation man admits to stabbing uncle to death during argument

Navajo Nation man admits to stabbing uncle to death during argument

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man who stabbed his uncle to death during an argument in the Navajo Nation last year has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in federal court.

Kenric Lee, 41, drove to a convenience store with his uncle, identified in court document as J.L., and J.L.'s girlfriend, identified as C.H., in Montezuma Creek, San Juan County, on June 7, 2018.

While C.H. was in the store, Lee and J.L. started arguing in the car. C.H. saw Lee on top of his uncle when she returned to the car and saw Lee holding a knife. Lee said he had to take his uncle to a hospital, according to court documents. Although there was a medical clinic next to the store, Lee locked the car doors and drove away with J.L. in the car.

Later that morning, the FBI and Navajo Nation police received information about a burning vehicle. They located a burning Ford Expedition and Lee standing about 30 yards away with two knives, according to court documents. Agents and officers took Lee into custody after he initially resisted arrest.

Officers found J.L.’s body later that evening in a grove of bushes a few miles away from the incinerated vehicle.

"The quarrel involved a knife and in the ensuing struggle, and as a result of my actions, my uncle sustained two stab wounds to his chest which resulted in his death," Lee admitted in a plea agreement.

Lee and prosecutors agreed May 16 to a 110-month prison sentence, which is subject to U.S. District Judge David Nuffer's approval at an August hearing.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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