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Police Blotter: Man charged in connection with beating of girlfriend

LOS ANGELES

A Ramah man is facing federal assault charges for reportedly beating up his girlfriend last April, causing brain damage.

Ricky Coho, 49, is currently being held in custody by the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Albuquerque pending a detention hearing.

According to federal court records, Navajo Police as well as emergency medical technicians were called to Coho’s residence in Pinehill, New Mexico to help a woman identified as Jane Doe. When police arrived, they were not allowed to enter because the woman was reported to have contracted the COVID-19 virus.

The woman was transported to the Zuni hospital and from there was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital where she underwent brain surgery to repair a brain bleed.

When she was released from the hospital she went to the Navajo Police and said she was assaulted by Coho, who she said was her boyfriend.

She said he picked her up and then dropped her. She said she remembered being dragged into Coho’s house and hearing him say, “This is your fault. Now try to talk smart to me.”

She said she also remembered Coho bringing a piece of rebar into the house with him.

He then told her, she said, “I know what can correct you” and then pointed to the rebar. She said she did not remember being hit.

The next thing she remembers is waking up in a rehabilitation center weeks later.

After being released, she said she went to the Ramah tribal court to get a protection order against Coho.

At the hearing on the protection order, Coho said his girlfriend had to accept some of the blame because she had accused him of being with another woman, which he said was not true. He told the judge they needed counseling.

At the end, the judge gave her a five-year protection order.

When she was interviewed by FBI agents in October, she said her relationship with Coho had a lot of violence. She said it was common for Coho to hit her in the head.

Just a week before she was sent to the hospital, she said, Coho had dragged her out of his truck and hit her in the side of the head with his closed fist.

When they went into the house and lay down, she said he punched her again in the side of the head. She said she was scared to leave because he told her if she left, “I’ll come after you.”

She said the two dated for about a year when they were in high school and he was violent toward her during that time. She added that things had not changed when they began dating again.

Coho was arrested on Monday.

Man gets year in prison for weapon charge

LOS ANGELES – A Window Rock man was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison after being sentenced earlier this month by a federal judge in Albuquerque.

Carlton Craig Sandoval, 39, entered a guilty plea in October to being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Sandoval first tangled with Navajo Police the morning of Jan. 1 outside a house in Navajo, N.M. Police had been called to the house after one of the residents reported that her sister was intoxicated and was causing problems.

Sandoval was seen by police getting out of his car and walking to the front door. Police said no action was taken since the sister was no longer at the residence.

Police were later called to that same residence that night when they responded to a call of a fight occurring at the house with multiple people involved. When police arrived at the scene, they found Sandoval sitting in his car outside the residence.

Police said they made several attempts to get Sandoval to open his door so he could be questioned but he refused to follow the orders. According to one officer, he became increasingly angrier and more aggressive as police repeated their demands.

Looking in the front passenger side window, police said they saw alcoholic beverages and a rifle in the front passenger seat.

Sandoval continued to ignore police demands to open the door and began making motions with his hand.

As he began leaning over toward the passenger side seat and making motions with his hand as if he planned to pick up the rifle, police told him to stop and put his hand on the steering wheel. After several warnings, he finally complied with the request and police shortly got him to open the door.

Police said after he was handcuffed, they searched the car and found a backpack containing numerous bullets for the rifle. Police said an inspection of the rifle showed there was a bullet in the chamber.

Checking his record, police said they found he had been convicted of three felonies and had done a year for endangerment and 27 months for aggravated drunk driving.

Fort Defiance woman sentenced to 8 years in stabbing

LOS ANGELES – A Fort Defiance woman received an eight-year sentence in federal court in Albuquerque after she admitted stabbing a Window Rock woman several times in the chest.

Khadiiha Keams was arrested by Navajo Police on Nov. 5, 2019, several hours after the stabbing occurred. According to court records, police had to conduct a short foot pursuit before she was apprehended.

Witnesses interviewed after the stabbing said Keams knocked on the door of the victim, identified in court records by her initials N.T., about 8:45 a.m. As soon as she opened the door, a witness said, Keams stabbed her numerous times in the chest with a large kitchen knife.

The witness said she then heard Keams say something like, “The hit is done” and said she was getting $1,000. She then walked away from the house.

The witness, who said she was “all shook up,” rushed to the victim and began applying pressure on the wounds until emergency medical officials showed up.

Police were told that Keams had been at the house earlier in the day.

Another witness said she also saw Keams stab the victim and followed her as she walked away. She said she asked Keams why she did what she did. She said Keams replied with an obscenity as she continued walking away.

That afternoon, Navajo criminal investigators showed up at the victim’s house to conduct a search for evidence. As they walked to the house, they said they saw a woman nearby who matched the description of the attacker.

As soon as she saw the police, Keams began running away. She was caught after a brief chase and arrested. Police said they observed a red blood-like speck on one of her shoes.

On the following morning, police attempted to interview Keams but she said she didn’t want to talk until she talked to a lawyer.


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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