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Alamo man found guilty of sexual assault


A federal jury last week convicted an Alamo man of two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

Thomas Abeyta, 38, continues to remain in federal custody pending a formal sentencing. No date has yet been set for sentencing.

According to court records, the victim, identified as Jane Doe, went to Abeyta’s house on Jan. 19, 2019. Abeyta had liquor and demanded that she drink with him. She refused at first, she said, but did so after he threatened to hurt her if she refused.

After drinking for a while, she said he injected something into her arm despite her efforts to stop him. She suspected that she was injected with either heroin or meth. She said he then pushed her down and put a pillow over her face, making it hard for her to breathe.

She said she passed out and when she regained consciousness, she found herself being raped by Abeyta. She said told him to stop but the assault went on for several hours.

Early the next morning, she was taken to the Socorro General Hospital where she was treated for injuries to her left temple, arms, legs and hip.

Two days later, Abeyta was interviewed by FBI agents. He denied assaulting her but admitted he “slapped her around a little.” He later admitted having sex with her that night but said it was consensual.

Court records indicate his counsel as well as court officials had an extremely difficult time bringing this case to a close, in part due to testimony from defense attorneys indicating Abeyta refused to talk to them.

At first, the judge questioned whether he was competent to stand trial but a court-ordered evaluation showed he was competent to stand trial and to work with his defense attorneys.

But records said he continued to refuse to communicate with his attorneys to a degree that had never happened before. It became an issue before the start of the trial when prosecutors presented Abeyta with terms of a plea agreement and were not given any indication that he knew an agreement was offered much less if he was acceptable to taking it.

This led to the prosecution drawing up a petition dealing with questions centered on whether he was informed that a plea agreement had been offered and whether he made any attempt to communicate with his attorneys about his defense.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan wrote about Navajo Nation government and its people since 1971. He joined Navajo Times in 1976, and retired from full-time reporting in 2018 to move to Torrance, Calif., to be near his kids. He continued to write for the Times until his passing in August 2022.


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