ALBUQUERQUE — Manuel Tsosie, 37, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., pleaded guilty Monday in federal court here to a child sexual abuse charge.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Tsosie will be sentenced to a term of incarceration not to exceed 33 months followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Tsosie will be required to register as a sex offender after completing his prison sentence.
Tsosie was arrested on June 3, 2014, on an indictment alleging he sexually abused a child under the age of 12 years on a date between April 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013. The indictment alleged that Tsosie violated the young victim in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County.
During Monday’s hearing, Tsosie entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with abusive sexual contact. In entering his guilty plea, Tsosie admitted that he intentionally touched the victim’s genitals at a residence located within the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Guilty plea entered to manslaughter
ALBUQUERQUE — Almundo Cruz Singer, 27, who resides in Tsayatoh, N.M., pled guilty Friday to an indictment charging him with involuntary manslaughter.
Singer was arrested on Dec. 16, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with involuntary manslaughter. He subsequently was indicted on Jan. 8, 2015, and charged with killing a man on Dec. 9, 2014, while driving under the influence of alcohol on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County.
According to court filings, Singer killed a 36-year-old Navajo man who was walking across State Road 118 in Church Rock by hitting him with his vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol. Singer fled from the scene of the crash, but was arrested shortly thereafter in Gallup.
During Friday’s hearing, Singer pled guilty to the indictment and admitted to killing the victim by driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. Singer admitted that because of his intoxication, he was incapable of exercising clear judgment and a steady hand in operating a vehicle, and that he operated the vehicle without using due caution and with a reckless disregard that imperiled the lives of others.
At sentencing, Singer faces a statutory maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison. Maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided for informational purposes only. The sentence imposed on Singer will be determined by the court. Singer has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Kirtland man pleads guilty to assault, murder
ALBUQUERQUE — A Navajo man who resides in Kirtand, N.M. entered guilty pleas Friday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., in two cases. Patrick Benally, 26, pled guilty to a second-degree murder charge arising out of the kidnapping and murder of a Navajo woman. He also entered a guilty plea to an assault charge in a separate, unrelated case.
Patrick Benally and his four co-defendants, Justin Benally, 26, of Farmington, N.M., LaSheena Jacquez, 27, of Kirtland, Scott Thompson, 28 of Farmington, and Mariah Benally, 22, of Kirtland, all enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, were indicted in Jan. 2014, on criminal charges arising from the kidnapping and murder of a 28-year-old Navajo woman on Oct. 23, 2013.
The indictment charged all five defendants with first degree murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnap. It also charged Justin Benally, Mariah Benally, Jacquez and Thompson with harboring Patrick Benally to prevent his arrest on charges arising out of an assault that was unrelated to the kidnapping and murder case.
The crimes charged in the indictment occurred on the Navajo Indian Reservation within San Juan County, N.M. All five defendants previously had been arrested in Dec. 2013, on a criminal complaint filed after law enforcement authorities received information that the victim, who was missing in Nov. 2013, had been murdered. The victim’s remains were recovered on Dec. 9, 2013.
All four of Benally’s co-defendants have entered guilty pleas to second-degree murder charges. Justin Benally, Mariah Benally and Jacquez pled guilty in Oct. and Nov. 2014, and Thompson entered a guilty plea in March 2015. All four have been in federal custody since they were arrested and remain detained pending their sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled. Each faces a maximum statutory penalty of life imprisonment.
During the plea hearing, Patrick Benally pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with second degree murder. In his plea agreement, Benally admitted that he caused the death of the victim by aiding and abetting others in the death of Jane Doe by preventing a witness from leaving the scene of the murder, preventing the same witness from providing aid to Jane Doe, and preventing the same witness from reporting the crime by intimidating her at the scene.
Patrick Benally also pled guilty to an assault with a dangerous weapon charge in a separate case. In Oct. 2013, Patrick Benally was charged by criminal complaint with assault and firearms charges arising out of an Oct. 10, 2015 incident during which he shot a different Navajo woman in the face. Patrick Benally subsequently was indicted in this case in Jan. 2014, and was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to court filings, Patrick Benally shot the victim in the face during an argument in the victim’s home in Fruitland, N.M.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Patrick Benally will be sentenced to a federal prison term within the range of 18 to 21 years followed by a period of supervised release to be determined by the court. He remains detained pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Shiprock man sentenced
ALBUQUERQUE — Dexter Dez, 29, who resides in Shiprock, was sentenced Monday in federal court here, for his assault conviction. Dez was sentenced to a 37 month term of incarceration followed by three years of supervised release.
Dez was arrested on July 11, 2013, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting a non-Indian man on May 17, 2013, at a residence in Two Gray Hills which is within the Navajo Indian Reservation. Dez subsequently was indicted and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
According to court filings, on the night of May 17, 2013, an intoxicated Dez entered the victim’s residence and punched him in the left eye with a box cutter. Dez then fled from the residence.
The victim’s eyelids were severed as a result of the assault and the victim required surgery to repair his eyelid.
Dez entered a guilty plea to the indictment on April 17, 2014, without the benefit of a plea agreement.
Sanostee man gets 46 months for assault
ALBUQUERQUE — Milton Washburn, 29, who resides in Sanostee, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court here to assault charges. Under the terms of his plea agreement Washburn will be sentenced to 46 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Washburn was arrested on Oct. 23, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting another Navajo man on Oct. 19, 2014, by running over the victim with a vehicle.
Court filings reflect that officers of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety responded to a call reporting that the victim had been deliberately run over by a vehicle and was seriously injured. The victim was taken to the hospital where he received medical treatment for a number of internal injuries, including rib fractures, a collapsed lung, a damaged liver, and a spinal fracture.
On Nov. 5, 2014, Washburn was indicted and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a vehicle, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
During Monday’s proceedings, Washburn pled guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and admitted that on Oct. 19, 2014, he ran over the victim with a vehicle after he engaged in an altercation with the victim. Washburn acknowledged that the victim suffered multiple injuries as a result of the assault.
Washburn has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.