Jewelry stolen from Monument Valley shop
WINDOW ROCK, April 19, 2012
An unknown person or persons broke into the Monument Valley Visitor Center and got into the curio shop where they damaged three jewelry display cases and broke a window.
The manager of the shop estimated that about $10,000 worth of jewelry was taken during the break-in.
Kayenta man dies in rollover
A one-vehicle rollover on April 14 claimed the live of a Kayenta man.
Navajo police received a call about 4 a.m. from Julia Richards that she and her husband, Adison Richards, 56, had been involved in a vehicle rollover on U.S. Highway 160 near Mexican Water, Utah.
When police arrived at the scene, medical personnel were treating Adison Richards who had been ejected from the vehicle. Both of the Richards were transported to the Red Mesa Medical Center but police said Adison Richards died as a result of the injuries he received in the accident.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the victim may have fallen asleep at the wheel, causing the vehicle to travel off the road onto the shoulder and rolling over once, ejecting the driver.
Police officer bitten by dog
A Navajo police officer, whose name was not released, was treated for a minor dog bite on April 9 that he received when he responded to a call in Thoreau, N.M., of a drunken disturbance.
When the officer got there, he arrested Adrian Shaw Miller for DWI but as he was handcuffing Miller and putting him in the unit, a white and black heeler attacked him from the back.
The officer was bitten in the left calf muscle and was treated for a small puncture wound that had minimal bleeding.
The owner of the dog was listed at Clara Miller.
Machete attack alleged in Shiprock
Shiprock police received a call about 5:11 a.m. from staff at the Northern Navajo Medical Center that a man had been brought in with wounds that were caused by a machete.
An investigation revealed that the victim, identified as Galvin Nez, 22, of Shiprock, had gone to the home of Frank Tyrell, 25, of Shiprock about 4 a.m. with his sister.
The purpose of the early morning visit was to retrieve a cell phone and vehicle keys that his sister had left at the Tyrell residence earlier in the evening after the two had broken up.
Nez told police that as he was getting out of his car, Tyrell ran out of his house with a machete in each hand and lunged at him.
He used his hands to block the blows and received cuts on his arms, he said. He managed to get away and get back to his car and he and his sister drove away.
The case is still under investigation by the department's criminal investigation unit.
Jeddito man arrested for being a nuisance
Navajo police were originally told on April 15 that something bad was going on some five miles south of Jeddito, Ariz.
The call came from Alex Begay, who called the Dilkon police to report that Alonzo Baldwin, 21, of Jeddito, and two other men were shooting in the Jeddito Wash area and that they had rifles and shotguns and were planning to go after two Jeddito residents.
Because of the reports of the three men being heavily armed, police officers from Chinle, Window Rock and the Hopi Reservation were called to assist in making the arrest.
Dilkon police had a description of the car Baldwin was allegedly driving and police managed to find and stop it but it turned out that someone else was driving it.
Other police officers went to Baldwin's home looking for him but he was not found there. Instead, he was apprehended by police at gunpoint as he was walking along the road near his house. Police found no weapons but he was arrested for criminal nuisance, threatening and public intoxication. The other men who were supposedly with him were not located.
Accused molester freed on technicality
A District Court judge in Gallup on April 2 ordered the release of a Fort Wingate, N.M., man who was arrested two months ago on multiple charges of child molestation.
Ernie Begaye, who had worked as a janitor at the Fort Wingate Elementary School, was charged with 11 counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and 14 counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.
The charges filed by the district attorney's office were dismissed after the court decided that the area where the alleged crimes were committed is outside the jurisdiction of the state.
Which governmental entity does have jurisdiction is unclear - possibly the tribe, but limitations on what crimes the tribe can prosecute put this case outside its reach.
According to the indictment, Begaye, 49, lived in the teacher housing belonging to the school. He allegedly enticed the three non-Native children of a neighbor to his house on numerous occasions by letting them play on his piano and trampoline.
While there, the indictment said that he molested the three girls, ages 6 to 10, by touching their private parts.
District Attorney Karl Gillson said the jurisdiction problem in this case is not a new one.
For the past 20 years, the state has faced obstacles prosecuting crime that occurs in the Fort Wingate area because of conflicting interpretations over who has jurisdiction.
The land was administratively assigned to the BIA in the 1950s for the school, but previous cases in state and federal court raised the question of what status that confers on the land.
In the State v. Dick, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled that the land was a dependent Indian community and therefore not under state jurisdiction.
A few years later, however, the U.S. District Court in New Mexico ruled in another case, U.S. v. M.C., that it was not a dependent Indian community and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
As a result, said Gillson, the only government that has criminal jurisdiction is the Navajo Nation, which currently is limited under federal law to handling misdemeanors. Sex crimes against children are usually in the felony category, outside the authority of tribal courts under present U.S. law.
While the Navajo courts, on occasion, have given a sentence of more than one year by combining misdemeanor charges, at best a sexual predator would end up serving a fraction of the time that he or she would if found guilty in state or federal court, Gillson said.
Because of this, Gillson said he will appeal the dismissal of the Begaye case in hopes that the state appeals court will realize that for the safety of people in that area, the state must assume jurisdiction.
If that doesn't work, he said, the only solution may be to ask Congress to resolve the jurisdiction issue through a change in the law.
Milan woman killed in Hogback
A vehicle crash with a pedestrian fatality occurred April 3 in Hogback, N.M.
Navajo police identified the victim as Clorinda Gallegos, 40, of Milan, N.M.
When police arrived at the scene, they found a body resting on the shoulder of the road. Upon checking it, they found it to be unresponsive and EMS officials declared the victim to be deceased.
Witnesses and the physical evidence at the scene indicated that the victim was standing near the roadway when the impact was made.
The driver of the vehicle - Veronica Billy, 27, of Kirtland, N.M. - said she was making a right turn into a residence and did not see the woman standing by the roadway.
The Criminal Investigations Department is still looking into the accident.
Officer collides with horse
A crash occurred April 4 but the victim here was a horse and the driver was a Navajo Nation police officer, whose name was not released.
The police report said the officer was on State Road 371 responding to a back-up request from another officer when a black horse appeared on the roadway and was struck by the police vehicle, which received heavy damage to the right front end.
The officer complained afterwards of neck and back pain, the report said.
3 die in Casamero Lake crash
A March 31 vehicle crash in the Casamero Lake, N.M., area killed three people but the names of only two have been released so far.
The two who have been identified were Rarrin C. Lyons and Brandon Perry - no ages or addresses given.
The only detail about the accident is that it was a one-vehicle rollover.