A man who plead guilty to stabbing his uncle to death outside a convenience store in Montezuma Creek in 2018 now faces more than 9 years in federal prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 12 for Kenric Lee, 41, who plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter on May 16 in the U.S. District Court.
Lee is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. The plea and sentencing is part of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors.
The press release said Lee admitted to killing his uncle during an argument in a vehicle on June 7, 2018. His uncle, also an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, is identified as J.L. in court documents.
Lee admitted that he went with J.L. and J.L.’s girlfriend, identified as C.H., to a convenience store in Montezuma Creek. While C.H. was in the store, a quarrel erupted between Lee and J.L. while they were sitting in the vehicle.
When C.H. returned to the car she saw Lee on top of the victim, court documents said. She also noticed Lee was holding a black knife. Lee said he needed to take J.L. to a hospital. Although there was a medical clinic next door to the store, Lee locked the doors of the vehicle and drove away with J.L. in the car.
Later that morning, the FBI and Navajo Nation police officers received information about a burning vehicle.
Agents and officers responded to the location and found a burning Ford Expedition. Lee was found about 30 yards from the vehicle with two knives in his possession. Lee was taken into custody after initially resisting arrest. As a part of his plea agreement, Lee admitted that as a result of his actions, his uncle received two stab wounds to his chest which resulted in his death.
Later that evening, J.L.’s body was located later in a grove of bushes a few miles away from the incinerated vehicle.
A federal grand jury returned a single-count indictment in August 2018 charging Lee with murder in the second degree in connection with J.L.’s death.
The plea includes a stipulated sentence of 110 months in federal prison, which is subject to the approval and acceptance of U.S. District Judge David Nuffer at the sentencing hearing in August
Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Utah are prosecuting the case. Special Agents of the FBI and Navajo Nation Police Officers and Criminal Investigators are investigating the case, the press release said.