Elder, 4-year-old die in rollover

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, May 10, 2012

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W INDOW ROCK - A one vehicle rollover that occurred neat Ojo Encino, N.M., on May 4 claimed the lives of a Navajo grandmother and a four-year-old boy.

Navajo police were called to the area about four miles east of the Ojo Encino Chapter House about 10 a.m.

When they got there, they found a blue sedan on its top and two bodies covered with sheets. There were also several children being treated by an ambulance.

Police talked to a 13-year-old girl who had been in the accident and she gave them this account.

Her father, Harlan Sam, 43, of Ojo Encino, was driving and her mother, Irene Virgil, 37, also of Ojo Encino, was a passenger. There were eight people in the car - three adults and five children.

She told police that they were driving on a dirt road when her father lost control of the car, hitting an embankment which caused the car to overturn.

The girl said she got the children out of the car and ran to a nearby home to call for help. When she got back to the car, she saw her parents leaving on foot and her grandmother and cousin still in the car. They were not moving.

The grandmother was identified as Rose Sam, 70, of Ojo Encino. The other victim was identified as four-year-old Bruce Lopez. The other children in the car all suffered minor injuries.

Police later found Harlan Sam and Virgil and placed them under arrest for being intoxicated.

Tohlakai may be arson

An investigation of a fire in the Tohlakai, N.M., area on May 1 is being viewed as arson.

The fire destroyed the home of Matilda Yazzie, 53. By the time police arrived, they saw that the house was totally engulfed in flames, despite efforts from the firefighters from the Navajo Estates Fire Department to put it out.

They also saw Raymond Shack, 46, who was sitting in front of his nearby home. Police said he was intoxicated.

After the fire was put out, police noticed that a set of footprints that went to and from the burnt out structure and Shack's home. The footprints matched the shoes that Shack was wearing.

The case has been turned over to the department's Criminal Investigation Unit.

Human remains found

Police said human remains were found in the Kayenta area on April 30.

The remains were found by a 15-year-old girl who was walking in the area. The site was identified as about three miles northwest of milepost 342 on U.S. Highway 163.

She reported the find to her relatives and on May 2, Vicki Clitso, 43, of Kayenta reported it to police.

When police investigated they discovered that the remains came from an old burial site. They also found an old saddle and jewelry that had also been buried along with the remains.

The remains and the items were later reburied at a different site.

Motorcyclist injured

Navajo Nation Police reported a hit and run on State Highway 264 on April 23.

When police arrived at the scene of the accident in the St. Michaels area, they found Shawn Ray Reed, no age or address given, laying facedown on the road.

He had been going west on his motorcycle when a older Ford pickup pulled up in front of him, causing him to hit the back of the pickup and lose control of his motorcycle.

The pickup left the area. One witness followed, saying it went to residence southwest of St. Michael Mission. The driver came back to the pickup a little later and the driver left that area at a high rate of speed, almost hitting another vehicle.

The witness was able to give police the license plate number of the vehicle.

Reed was taken to the Fort Defiance Hospital, suffering from severe injuries.

Jury deadlocks in Redhorse case

A McKinley County jury could not come to a decision on the guilt or innocence of 20-year-old Alex Redhorse, who was facing two counts of murder and three counts of tampering with evidence in the deaths of Dusty Rye and Alec Arimjo, both 19, on April 17, 2011.

Prosecutors said he killed the two with a sawed-off shotgun and came back the next day to burn the bodies to destroy any evidence he may have left behind. Redhorse's defense attorney, Sam Bregman, said there was no physical evidence linking Redhorse to the murders.

The prosecution, however, provided two witnesses who testified that Redhorse told them details of the murder on April 18 as they were standing in front of the Gallup Indian Medical Center.

Jury members later said that at the time the decision was made to declare a mistrial, the jury was voting heavily in favor of a guilty verdict.

The case is expected to be retried. A new trial date of July 10 has been set.

Newcomb man pleads guilty

ALBUQUERQUE - Delsanto Ray Allen, 24, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Newcomb, N.M., entered a guilty plea May 3 to an assault with a dangerous weapon charge under a plea agreement, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

In his plea agreement, Allen admitted that he assaulted a woman on Nov. 1, 2011, causing her to fall from a moving vehicle. He further admitted that the woman was seriously injured as a result of his assault.

At sentencing, Allen faces up to 10 years of imprisonment.

Fruitland man pleads to manslaughter

ALBUQUERQUE - Uriah Upshaw, 20, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fruitland, N.M., entered a guilty plea May 3 to voluntary manslaughter, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Upshaw pleaded guilty to killing Mario Desheuquette, a 32-year-old Navajo man, on Aug. 26, 2011, during a physical altercation while Desheuquette was intoxicated.

After the fight ended, Upshaw went to Desheuquette's home to retrieve a personal item that Desheuquette had taken from him. While inside Desheuquette's home, the physical altercation resumed.

Upshaw entered his guilty plea without the benefit of any plea agreement.

At sentencing, Upshaw faces up to 15 years of imprisonment to be followed by not more than three years of supervised release.

Two Grey Hills man pleads guilty

ALBUQUERQUE - On May 3, Cassidine McDonald, 24, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Two Grey Hills, N.M., was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his aggravated child sexual abuse conviction, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

McDonald admitted that he engaged in sexual acts with a four-year-old child on three occasions between August 2010 and January 2011.

The investigation into the case was initiated after a preschool teaching assistant notified the Navajo Nation Department of Social Services that the child may have been sexually abused. The division took custody of the child and alerted law enforcement authorities.

McDonald will be on supervised release for five years after he completes his prison sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Man pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder

TUCSON - On May 1, Nicholas Demetrius Jose, 23, of San Miguel, Ariz., pleaded guilty in a Tucson federal district court to second degree murder, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

According to the plea agreement, in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 2010, Jose and the victim were involved in a verbal altercation at the victim's residence in San Miguel, on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Jose went across the street to his house and retrieved a .22 caliber Ruger rifle. He then went back to the victim's residence and confronted him on the back patio. Jose fired two shots, one of which struck the victim in the chest. The victim was later pronounced dead at the scene.

A conviction for second degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Sentencing is set for July 31.

Laguna man pleads guilty to murder

ALBUQUERQUE - Vincent Paul Francis, 45, a member and resident of the Pueblo of Laguna, entered a guilty plea May 3 to an indictment charging him with two counts of second degree murder and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Francis pled guilty to killing his girlfriend, Shannon Luarkie, 45, and his sister Anita Yazzie, 38, and seriously injuring a 20-year-old woman on Nov. 20, 2011, by driving while intoxicated and crashing the vehicle that in which his victims were passengers.

All of Francis's victims were members of the Pueblo of Laguna, and the vehicle crash occurred near mile marker 134 on Interstate 40 and within the boundaries of the Pueblo of Laguna.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Francis will be sentenced to 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

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