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Navajo woman facing federal murder charges in January shooting

Published August 1, 2012 12:40 pm

Courts • Michelle Harvey is accused of shooting Carlos Peney on Navajo reservation.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Prosecutors have filed murder charges against a 28-year-old woman in connection with the death of Carlos Peney Mose, a Monument Valley tour guide and photographer, earlier this year, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

Michelle Davida Harvey is alleged to have killed Mose during an "incident" in Halchita, Utah, on Jan. 28. Mose, 35, was pronounced dead at the Kayenta Medical Clinic in Arizona that same day, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The U.S. District Court indictment says Harvey used a Taurus .22 caliber revolver, but doesn't provide any other details about what happened.

Federal prosecutors said Harvey was arrested Friday in Olijato, Utah, and was arraigned Monday on charges of second-degree murder and discharging a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. At a detention hearing Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn Furse, prosecutors provided further details about the January incident, but had yet to provide discovery information to defense attorneys.

Prosecutors said Harvey's boyfriend and Mose had brought all of the woman's clothes out of her home on Jan. 28 and set them on fire on her front lawn, though Harvey allegedly didn't know Mose had been involved.

After her clothes were burned, prosecutors say she grabbed a gun, went behind the home, and began shooting at Mose. Eventually, she went into the home and the gun was wrestled from her by two men who were also at the home.

Defense attorney Benji McMurray told the judge that Harvey also was hospitalized that day due to injuries to her face, neck, and torso.

"While I don't know the whole story, I do know there's another side to the story," McMurray said in court.

But prosecutors say that Harvey's injuries could have been sustained during the struggle with the gun, or possibly were inflicted by her boyfriend, not Mose.

Prosecutors asked for Harvey to be kept in custody until her preliminary hearing, telling the judge that they felt Harvey was a flight risk because she hid in her home last week when agents came to arrest her, and only after an hour of convincing did she come out of the house. Prosecutors also said they were concerned about her being a danger to the community, and that she had issues with drug use.

McMurray said the woman "occasionally" smoked marijuana, but was not a regular user.

Furse ruled that Harvey would remain incarcerated until another detention hearing is held in early September. Furse said she was concerned that the defense was not able to accurately portray their version of the events because of lack of information, and she also ordered an evaluation of Harvey's mental health and asked for information about her brother's Salt Lake City home where the woman would stay if released.

Harvey is a member of the Navajo Nation, as was Mose. She faces a potential maximum penalty of up to life in prison on the murder charge and a mandatory-minimum sentence of 10 years on the firearms count. The case is being investigated by the FBI and Navajo Nation.

Mose grew up in Monticello, Blanding and Mexican Hat. He attended Monument Valley High School, according to an obituary published in the San Juan Record, and then Fort Louis College in Durango, Colo. After college, Mose worked as a photographer and was known for images that captured the valley's grand vistas. He later returned to Mexican Hat to work as a tour guide for Trailhandler Tours, entertaining visitors to the valley with Native stories and flute and drum solos.

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