Tohatchi man stabbed in school lot

WINDOW ROCK, Dec. 5, 2013

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Navajo police are investigating the stabbing of a 16-year-old Tohatchi teenager Monday in the parking lot shared by Tohatchi Middle School and Tohatchi High School.

The victim was identified as Dion Chato.

Frank Chiapetti, superintendent of the Gallup-McKinley County School District, said the stabbing occurred about 10 p.m. Monday.

The victim later died of the stab wound. No one was arrested at the scene but FBI officials said Tuesday that there is a suspect.

The victim had more than one stab wound, having been stabbed in the leg and the neck.

Chiapetti said that the stabbing had nothing to do with the school except that the parking lot was the location where it was done.

The district did have a lockdown the following day at all three of the Tohatchi schools as well as the elementary school in Twin Lakes, N.M.

Chiapetti also reported the death of a 11-year-old Tohatchi student of natural causes the same night but said this had nothing to do with the stabbing. The boy's name has not been released.

Two indicted for embezzlement

ALBUQUERQUE -- On Nov.21, a grand jury indicted Steve Howard, a former agent for Farmers Insurance Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on one count of embezzlement, a 2nd degree felony.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), part of the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance, prosecuted Howard. Howard was charged with knowingly or willfully embezzling or converting to his own use $23, 792.40 entrusted to him by customers of his independent Farmers Insurance agency.

Also on Nov. 26, a grand jury indicted Erika Rivera Gomez for one count of forgery, a fourth degree felony. Gomez, an active insurance agent, was charged with forging a license to sell Life, Accident and Health Insurance by the IFB.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau prosecutes insurance fraud and related crimes committed by agents and consumers statewide in New Mexico.

"We know fraudulent insurance claims contribute to higher insurance rates, and we continue to aggressively prosecute insurance fraud as a way to protect the public from rate hikes,Ó said Insurance Superintendent John Franchini.




Tohatchi man sentenced for armed robbery

GALLUP -- Michael James, 42, of Tohatchi, N.M., was sentenced to 188 months prison following his plea of guilty to armed bank robbery. James was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard D. McKibben in Phoenix Monday.

On May 17, 2013, James entered the First American Credit Union, located in Window Rock, and displayed a BB handgun to the bank tellers -- demanding money. James was given the sum of $15,226. The instant offense constituted James' third felony conviction for a crime of violence.

Shiprock resident gets 171 for manslaughter

GALLUP -- Clay O'Brien Mann, 29, who resides in Shiprock, N.M., was sentenced Tuesday in federal district court in Albuquerque to 171 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on involuntary manslaughter, assault and firearms charges. Mann also was ordered to pay $40,003.00 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.

Mann was arrested in July 2010, on a criminal complaint alleging that he killed a Navajo man and assaulted another Navajo man and a Navajo woman with a dangerous weapon on the Navajo Reservation on July 24, 2010.

Mann subsequently was indicted and charged with first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily injury, two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and three counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of an act of violence. Proceedings in the case were delayed by competency proceedings.

Trial of the case began on July 8 and concluded five days later when the jury returned a verdict finding Mann not guilty on the first-degree murder charge but guilty on the lesser included charge of involuntary manslaughter. The jury also found Mann guilty on two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of an act of violence. It acquitted Mann on two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily injury and the third firearms charge. The court subsequently vacated the conviction on one of the firearms counts.

The evidence at trial established that, at approximately 4 a.m. on July 24, 2010, an inebriated Mann drove his car to his neighbor's property and launched an artillery shell into the neighbor's property where the neighbor and his friends were socializing. When Ames Joseph Jim and another man and a woman walked over to see what was going on, Mann fired a semi-automatic rifle at them, shooting Jim in the face and heart, the other man in the face and the woman in the neck.

Jim died as a result of his injuries and the other two victims were seriously injured.

Man gets 2 years for assault

GALLUP -- Kirby Cleveland, 29, who resides in Casamero Lake, N.M., was sentenced Tuesday in federal district court in Albuquerque to two years in federal prison for his assault conviction. He will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.

Cleveland was arrested in July 2012 based on a criminal complaint and subsequently indicted and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and aggravated burglary.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 14, 2012, Cleveland forcefully entered into a residence located on the Navajo Reservation, armed with a baseball bat and assaulted a Navajo woman.

In July 2013, Cleveland pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury and admitted assaulting the victim on May 14, 2012, at her family's home.Ê According to his plea agreement, Cleveland went to the victim's home looking for individuals who had threatened him earlier in the day.

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