Four Southwest Colorado Residents Sentenced to Federal Prison for First Degree Murder

DURANGO (LAWFUEL) – Isaac Headman, age 27, April Watts, age 21, Johnita Taylor, age 32, and Monica Williams, age 24, all of Ignacio, Colorado, were sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to federal prison terms for first degree murder and related crimes while on the Southern Ute reservation. Isaac Headman was sentenced to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole. April Watts was sentenced to serve 22 years imprisonment. Johnita Taylor was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison, and Monica Williams was sentenced to serve 23 years imprisonment. Judge Blackburn pronounced the sentences while sitting in Durango. All four defendants are being held without bail, and were remanded into custody. Blackburn also ordered the defendants to pay $1,500 in restitution joint and several to the family of the victim for funeral and related expenses.

Headman, Watts, Taylor and Williams were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on September 6, 2007. Williams pled guilty on April 18, 2008. Watts pled guilty on May 23, 2008. Taylor pled guilty on September 11, 2008. Headman was found guilty on September 22, 2008 following a 6 day jury trial. The defendants were sentenced today, January 14, 2009, by Judge Blackburn.

According to the indictment, stipulated facts contained in plea agreements, and facts presented to the jury during the Headman trial, between August 22 and August 23, 2007, Headman and the others, all of whom are Indians, willfully killed Clifton Joseph Greany, also an Indian, with premeditation and malice aforethought. Specifically, Headman and the other defendants beat and kicked the victim. Headman then put the victim into the trunk of a car, and with his co-defendants drove to a remote location. Headman, Watts and Williams then stabbed the victim in the throat with a knife. Taylor encouraged the stabbing. The victim died as a result of the injuries.

“Although nothing will bring back Mr. Greany to those who loved him, I hope the sentences will demonstrate that the justice system does work,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

“We hope Mr. Greany’s family and friends are able to find some comfort in that those responsible for his death are being punished,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Davis. “This was a horrific crime and I appreciate the work and investigation conducted by the FBI Agents, Southern Ute Police Department, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Southern Ute Police Department, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Carey and Todd Norvell.

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