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Man gets 3 years for 2017 assault

The first of three men accused of assaulting a man on the Navajo Reservation in 2017 was sentenced to 36 months in prison for his involvement in the crime.

Derwin Williams, 44, entered a guilty plea on June 5 to the assault which caused serious bodily injury.

He and two other men, Marty Manuelito, 46, and Joelson Talk, 44, allegedly went to the victim’s residence on April 17, 2017 to retrieve a gun.

While at the residence, the three allegedly assaulted the victim, causing him numerous cuts on his body. They are also accused of kicking him multiple times. Besides the cuts, he also received a concussion, fractures to his nose and spine and a broken tooth.

According to court records, Talk agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and in doing so, explained that the assault was in retaliation for reports the victim planned to sexually assault his girlfriend. He also claimed that the victim had stolen a gun from him.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Anderson said in a statement to the court that his office could find no evidence to confirm the allegation that Talk’s girlfriend had been threatened. The victim did have a gun but prosecutors ere unable to determine where it came from.

“Vigilante justice is not to be tolerated,” said Anderson, “but it is understandable why an individual might get upset at hearing that kind of information, especially when Talk formulated violence and retribution and providing alcohol to an already combustible situation.”

Jerry Herrera, Williams’ public defender, in his plea to the court for a reduced sentence said Williams had a long history of alcohol abuse which brought him into encounters with law enforcement on numerous occasions.

He said Williams was born into a family where he had 11 brothers and sisters. Williams described his father as a violent drunk who mentally and physically abused all members of his family, which resulted in all members of the family having problems with alcohol.

Williams said he began drinking at the age of 13. He said he has attended rehab facilities in the past but does not believe they helped him. He requested alcohol counseling while he serves his sentence.

Talk has entered a motion to enter into a plea agreement and Manuelito”s case is still going through the court system.


About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.

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