Police Blotter: Judge orders mental evaluation

LOS ANGELES

A federal judge has ordered a San Juan man to undergo a mental evaluation to determine if he is competent enough to stand trial for sexually assaulting a minor on the Navajo Reservation.

Randall Benally was arrested on March 14 after he was indicted on charges of two counts each of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact. According to the indictment, Benally between July 14, 2003, and September 27, 2007, sexually molested a female under the age of 12 years on four different occasions.

The accusations came under federal investigation in late 2018. In his order for a mental evaluation, U. S. Magistrate Judge Jerry Ritter agreed to a motion filed by Benally’s defense attorneys that a mental evaluation needs to be done.

“Mr. Benally has a substantial brain injury caused by an employment related injury prior to the alleged events of this case,” according to the defense motion. The court has hired Dr. Susan Cave, a prominent psychologist in Santa Fe, to do the evaluation.

Tohatchi man given 20 years

A Tohatchi man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting his former girlfriend.

Ryan Thompson, 32, had pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 5. The 31-year-old victim told police that she and her two-year-old daughter were kidnapped on Nov. 15, 2017, from a gas station in Gallup and then held for two days, during which she was sexually assaulted multiple times.

She said she had been abused by Thompson in the past so when he told her to get into the passenger seat of her car, she complied. She said he also took her cell phone from her. Thompson then took them to a hill near Tohatchi and ordered her to drink liquor with him or he would hit her. She said she drank with him out of fear. When they got to the hill, she said, Thompson got out of the car to urinate and she immediately got in the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away. Thompson managed to grab her by the hair and dragged her out of the car and punched her, she said.

She said Thompson then raped her in front of her daughter. After he was through, she said he put her in the back of the car and raped her again with a vodka bottle. She said he then told her to look outside and pick a tree and the one she picked will be where he buried her and her daughter.

She said Thompson then forced them to sleep in the car that night and refused to allow them to leave for any reason. The next morning she said he took them to his parent’s house. She said she didn’t tell them anything about what happened the night before because they knew their son had abused her in the past and had refused to do anything about it.

She eventually decided to try to get their help by writing them two notes about what was going on. She slipped one under the door of his parent’s bedroom and the other under his hat. The notes also asked them to call police. The victim and her daughter spent that night at his parent’s house.

On the following day, she said, Thompson left to steal something from the house of a neighbor and she was able to get into her car and drive away with her daughter. When she got to Gallup, she met police and told them what happened. She was transported to a local hospital and then flown to Albuquerque for treatment for her injuries, which included a broken nose.

Pueblo Pintado teen pleads guilty

A Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico, man has pleaded guilty in federal district court to sexually assaulting a minor.

Presley Dexter Sandoval, 25, is currently in federal custody. No sentencing date has been set. In his plea agreement, Sandoval admitted to committing sexual assaults on two occasions with a minor on the Navajo Reservation between Sept. 30, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2018. During this time, the victim was between the ages of nine and 11.

In his arrest warrant, the victim said the sexual assaults began when she was seven years old when her family was out of the house and she was there alone with Sandoval. She also said she was sexually assaulted three times when she was seven, as well as the other two assaults when she was nine and 11.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison but the plea agreement states that Sandoval will be facing a sentence of not less than 12 years and not more than 18 years.

Fort Defiance man cited for DWI, assault

Brian Joe, 18, of Fort Defiance, has been cited in federal court in Prescott for assault and driving while intoxicated. Joe was arrested on May 20 at Grand Canyon National Park by rangers who said he showed signs of being intoxicated and had trouble keeping his balance. They also found a partially consumed bottle of vodka in his pants pocket.

When he was arrested, he denied doing anything wrong and claimed that the alleged victim had bit him and told law enforcement officials they should talk to her. Which is what they did.

She said that she and Joe had gotten into an argument and she began walking away to go home when he ran after her and tackled her. She said he then struck her and took a bottle of vodka she had and put it in his pants. She said they began to struggle and she attempted to keep him from leaving so that law enforcement officers would have time to arrive and detain him. During the struggle, she said Joe kicked her in the chest and she bit him on the leg.

At that point, she said, Joe ran from the scene. He was found a short time later and was arrested.

Shiprock man charged with assault

An attempt by a Shiprock man to get back together with his ex-girlfriend has led to his arrest on federal charges.

Ryan Franklin, 30, has been charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and committing a crime in Indian country. Franklin was first arrested by Navajo Nation Police at his home about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2018, after a witness called and reported that he had assaulted his girlfriend in front of their infant child.

Police found him in his bedroom with a liquor bottle in his pocket. He was arrested on tribal charges of criminal nuisance and possession of liquor. Because of the seriousness of the injuries to his girlfriend, the case was turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Mexico to prosecute.

The alleged victim, who is identified only as Jane Doe in court records, told FBI agents that she had known Franklin for about 18 months and that they had an 11-month-old son together. On the night in question, she said the two went to a movie and then back to Franklin’s house. At some point, Franklin began drinking and asking about the possibility of getting back together. She said she would rather discuss that with him in the morning when he was sober.

She said Franklin got angry and she called a friend to pick her up. Before the friend arrived, she said Franklin shoved her against the wall while she was holding the baby. He then began punching her in the face with his fist, causing one of her eyes to swell up. She then ran out of the room yelling for help.

She was later transported to the hospital where she was diagnosed as having a fractured right orbital socket and a tear to her left ear. Franklin later told FBI agents that he and his girlfriend went to his bedroom to watch television but instead of talking to him, she was on her cell phone and Facebook throughout the evening.

He said his son began crawling away from him and he felt that bad because he did not think his son knew him. He said they began arguing and he hit her with his fist and then walked out of the bedroom after asking her why she was treating him that way.


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