Shooting victim uncooperative

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, July 26, 2012

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W INDOW ROCK - Navajo police and the FBI are investigating a homicide that occurred on July 18 in Whitehorse Lake, N.M.

Police received a call about 1 p.m. from someone who said a male was lying by the road shot in the leg. A few minutes later, another caller reported another man lying on a road about a mile away from the first one. This one had a rifle lying next to him.

When police arrived at the junction of Navajo Route 9 and the Sandoval turnoff, they found Nelson Valenski, 42, of Whitehorse Lake. He was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of the wound to his leg.

Family members of Galen Jim Pettigrew, 40, also of Whitehorse Lake, discovered his body at roughly the same time about one mile east of the Sandoval turnoff on White Mesa Road.

Police said when they respond to that call, they found Pettigrew unresponsive and lacking a pulse. When emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, they also could find no pulse.

Man charged in mother beating

A Mexican Springs, N.M., man has been charged with aggravated battery in connection with injuries he allegedly inflicted on his mother.

Police said they were called to the Gallup Indian Medical Center on July 14 in connection with injuries suffered by Annie M. Tom, 59, of Mexican Springs.

Tom told police that she was at her home with her boyfriend - Alvin Jones, 44, of Rock Springs, N.M. - when her son, Orlando Tom, 38, came home and got in a fight with Jones.

Anna Tom said she stepped between the two to stop the fight and her son kicked her in the back. She immediately began having problems breathing so she was transported to the hospital.

Doctors at the hospital told police that she had a collapsed lung and several broken ribs.

Orlando Tom was arrested later that day at his home.

Dogs attack elderly Breadsprings woman

A Breadsprings, N.M., woman was taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center on July 13 with injuries from a dog attack at her home.

When police arrived at the hospital, they found Lillian James, 77, with a cast on her right arm.

James told police that she was walking to the family's sheep corral to talk to her daughter when she was attacked by two dogs, one brown and one white. As she fought off the dogs, she suffered a broken wrist.

A police investigation revealed that her daughter had several pitbulls that she allowed to roam the area. The case has been turn over to tribal animal control.

Pot suspected in Cornfields home

When Navajo tribal police went to arrest George Yazzie on June 20 for obstructing a court order, they got more than they bargained for.

Police arrived at Yazzie's home in Cornfields, Ariz., about 1:21 p.m. and as they made the arrest, they discovered nine potted plants with the appearance and odor of marijuana.

Tribal police said that the investigation is continuing.

Drinking ends in double stabbing

Two Navajo, N.M., men were stabbed in an altercation that occurred July 2 near Red Lake. Police listed the victims as Austin Wauneka, no age given, and Aaron Tsabetsaye, 30.

The two had been drinking with Darvin Daniels, 42, of Navajo, when a fight broke out, according to the police report, and Daniels allegedly stabbed them both. He then fled but was found later in a nearby abandoned structure and was arrested.

Both victims were admitted to the hospital for treatment of multiple stab wounds.

Kayenta stabbing victims recalcitrant

A stabbing victim in Kayenta was unwilling to name his attacker, police said.

Officials at the Kayenta Clinic called police July 7 to report that Frank Moshnic, 52, of Kayenta, was being treated after being stabbed on his right hand with what looked to be a razor blade. Medical personnel said he had lost a lot of blood.

When interviewed by police, Moshnic gave them different names for the person who had stabbed him and after that refused to cooperate, police said.

The following day, July 8, Calvert Schenally, 30, of Kayenta, also refused to cooperate with police when questioned about how he got stabbed in the leg. Schenally told police that he was stabbed by someone who was "gangster looking."

Police said Schenally was intoxicated at the time and that while he knew who stabbed him, he refused to name the person or cooperate in the investigation.

Man arrested for leaving the scene

Navajo police helped federal authorities capture a Navajo Mountain, Ariz., man who was wanted on a federal warrant.

Leander Tsosie, 27, was arrested June 28 in connection with a June 5 indictment that charged him with failure to stop at an accident resulting in serious injuries.


Alcohol involved in shooting

A Klagetoh, Ariz., man is facing aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon charges after reportedly shooting another Klagetoh man.

Police said they received a report on June 27 from a caller who told them that George Curley, 37, was being transported to Sage Memorial Hospital in Ganado, Ariz., with a gunshot wound.

According to Curley, he had gotten into an argument with Edwin Benally, 43, and a physical confrontation resulted during which Benally allegedly shot him with a .22 rifle. Police said the suspect had fled the scene by the time they arrived but returned later and was arrested.

Curley was flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque with a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest. Police said the consumption of alcoholic beverages had occurred before the fight.

Horses on highway lead to fatality

A delayed accident report was filed last week for an incident that occurred May 29 on State Route 264 near Yah-Ta-Hey, N.M. Donna Sam, 52, of Gallup, died at the scene of the accident.

Police said the accident involved two cars, one in which Sam was a passenger and the other driven by Elisa Arviso, no age or hometown listed.

Arviso was behind a vehicle driven by Kelley Sam, no age or address given, when Sam slowed down to avoid hitting horses that were crossing the highway. Arviso told police that she was adjusting her seatbelt and when she looked up, it was took late for her to avoid rear-ending the Sam vehicle.

This caused the Sam vehicle to go into a lateral spin and eventually to roll over, ejecting both driver and passenger, the police report said.

Tribal rangers later rounded up six horses and a donkey and say the owner will be cited for not keeping them under control. Arviso was cited for following too closely and Kelley Sam was cited for having no valid driver's license.

Alcohol involved in fatal accident

A 35-year-old Cross Canyon, Ariz., woman was arrested July 8 following a fatal accident on State Route 264 near Yah-Ta-Hey, N.M.

Navajo Nation Police received a call saying a person was lying on the side of the road. Police were also told that the person was not breathing. Other witnesses said the victim had fallen out of a white sedan that did not stop and was continuing westbound on 264.

By the time police arrived, however, the vehicle in question was back at the scene. Police said it appeared to have no damage. Police identified the victim as Merlien (sic) Chicharello, 37, of Window Rock.

The driver of the white sedan, Rochelle Chicharello, was arrested for DWI and obstruction of justice after police said she gave them false statements about what happened.

Alcohol involved in mother stabbing

An Ojo Encino, N.M., teenager was arrested July 7 for allegedly stabbing his mother.

Police said the victim, Ruth Yazzie, 54, was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment of a stab wound. Police said the investigation revealed that her son, Myles Norberto, 18, had stabbed her for "no apparent reason."

The police report also stated that Norberto was found to be intoxicated at the time of the incident.

Guilty plea in fatality, abuse cases

ALBUQUERQUE - Lamuel Thomas, 27, of Upper Fruitland, N.M., pled guilty July 17 to involuntary manslaughter and abusive sexual contact charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Thomas admitted that, on the night of Nov. 9, 2010, he drove after drinking a large amount of alcohol and smoking marijuana. He crossed into the lane of incoming traffic and struck a car head on. The driver of the car, a 70-year-old Navajo woman who was returning home from work, died as a result of injuries she suffered in the crash. At the time of the crash, Thomas's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

Thomas also admitted that in the early morning hours of March 2, 2011, he inappropriately touched a 13-year-old child while he was an overnight guest of the victim's parents.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Thomas will serve eight years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter offense and another three years for the abusive sexual contact offense, for a total prison sentence of 11 years.

The court will determine the period of supervised release that Thomas will serve after he completes his prison sentence.

He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Biggs gets 3 years for baton beating

ALBUQUERQUE - Kerley K. Biggs, 22, of Ramah, N.M., was sentenced July 16 to three years in prison for his assault with a deadly weapon conviction, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

On Jan. 24, Biggs pled guilty and admitted beating another Navajo man on the head and face with a metal expandable baton at Biggs' residence in Ramah. As a result of the assault, the victim required medical treatment for numerous injuries to his head, left cheek and left eye. The victim sustained a significant wound to the back of his head that required 12 staples to repair.

Biggs will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence.

Piñon man faces life in rape case

PHOENIX - Wilson Tsosie, 47, of Piñon, Ariz., was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse by a federal jury on July 13, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The evidence at trial showed that on April 16, 2011, in a remote area outside of Piñon, Tsosie sexually assaulted a woman twice in front of her home.

A conviction for aggravated sexual abuse carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Tsosie is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 15.

San Carlos woman admits embezzling

PHOENIX - Holley Faye Youvella, 34, of San Carlos, Ariz., pleaded guilty July 5 to embezzling over a quarter of a million dollars from her employer, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

She admitted that between October 2008 and March 2010, while serving as a bookkeeper for Peridot Shopping Center Inc., she embezzled approximately $268,106 of the shopping center's money. The shopping center is an enterprise of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

Youvella cashed approximately 237 fraudulent checks drawn on the shopping center's checking account. The checks were made out to Youvella or to a member of her family. She also admitted stealing $4,301 by making electronic payments from the shopping center's checking account to pay personal credit and utility accounts.

A conviction for embezzlement of tribal funds carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Youvella is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 15.

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