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Piñon man sentenced for burglary, assault - Navajo Times
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
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Piñon man sentenced for burglary, assault


A Piñon, Arizona, man, Nathaniel Vernon Dempsey, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to burglary and assault on a federal officer.

Dempsey was arrested just after midnight on Oct. 11, 2018, near the home of his ex-girlfriend, who is identified as AJ in court records.

Her home is located on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

When rangers arrived at the scene about 10:30 p.m. the night before, they were told by AJ that a number of items were missing from her house. This included cash and a knife. She said she believed the items were taken by her ex-boyfriend against whom she had filed a restraining order the previous week. She told them she was at home when she heard someone kicking her door and later she found out that her tires had been slashed.

Rangers believed that Dempsey could still be in the area and began a search around the house. At about 12:09 a.m. rangers confronted Dempsey who ran from them. One shot was reportedly fired by one of the rangers. A few minutes later, Dempsey was brought down by a taser. A search of his person revealed he was concealing two knives.

Rangers said during the chase they heard Dempsey yell, “If you want to shoot me, shoot me.” After he was handcuffed, he continued to yell and resist, according to his arrest record. AJ later told rangers that she felt Dempsey was a danger to herself and others in the community, saying that he gets violent whenever he has something to drink. She said that on Oct. 6, he had been drinking and threatened to kill her by “strangling her until she was breathless.”

Dempsey later agreed to talk to FBI agents and told them that he had actually been to AJ’s house twice that day. The first time she was not there so he purchased some beer. He came back later and confronted AJ and her boyfriend. He said he had a knife in his hand and decided to run away when he saw the rangers approaching the house.


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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