Motorcyclist hits truck, pronounced dead

Navajo Times staff report

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The Navajo Police Department reported the death of a motorcyclist on Navajo roads on Sept. 1.

The victim was identified as Michael Lohnes, whose address was not given. The accident occurred when his motorcycle hit a truck on State Road 566.

The truck, driven by Dan Nez, was parked on the shoulder of the road when Lohnes struck it while on his motorcycle. Lohnes was taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Man gets 20 for child sex abuse

Samuel Billy, 49, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in El Rancho, N.M., which is located in San Ildefonso Pueblo, pleaded guilty Thursday to a child sexual abuse charge.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Billy will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Billy will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.

Billy was arrested on Jan. 7, 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he sexually abused a child less than 12 years old in early Nov. 2012. According to the complaint, Billy sexually abused the child victim, who was left in his care, in his residence in San Ildefonso Pueblo on at least two occasions. Billy subsequently was charged in a four-count superseding indictment with three counts of aggravated child sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact.

The indictment alleged that Billy sexually abused the child victim on four separate occasions between Nov. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012, in a location within San Ildefonso Pueblo.

On Thursday, Billy pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with sexual abuse and admitted touching the child victim's genitals while the victim was sleeping and incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct.

Billy has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. The charges in the superseding indictment will be dismissed after Billy has been sentenced.


NM woman pleads guilty in husband's 2011 death

Bertha Damon, 44, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in the Mentmore section of Gallup, pleaded guilty Monday to a voluntary manslaughter charge. Damon entered her guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Damon entered her guilty plea to felony information charging her with killing a man by striking him with a piece of firewood on the Navajo Indian Reservation on May 21, 2011.

According to information presented during the plea hearing, Damon and the victim, her husband of 24 years, returned to their home after a night of drinking and began arguing. During the argument, Damon repeatedly struck the victim in the head with a piece of firewood. The victim died as the result of multiple blunt force trauma to the head.

At sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled, Damon faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

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