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Police Blotter: Piñon man sentenced for drunken argument killing

LOS ANGELES

A Piñon man has been sentenced in federal district court in Prescott to 70 months in prison after he admitted to killing a man in Piñon in a drunken argument in October 2017.

William Henry Purley, no age listed, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of “J.T.” on Oct. 5, 2017.

He was given credit for time served. After release, he is required to be on supervised probation for three years.

According to his plea agreement, he had been drinking with J.T. when they got into an argument. Purley said he told J.T. to leave his property. He said J.T. picked up a handmade barbell and came at him.

He said he managed to get the barbell from him and struck him over the head and face multiple times. J.T. later died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Another area resident, Marilyn Badoni, had been charged in this case as an accessory. She later pleaded guilty to misprision by helping Purley.

She admitted having an intimate relationship with Purley at the time of the incident but said she was not with him that day and only learned later of J.T.’s death. She said she was afraid of Purley and that fear prevented her from contacting police.

On July 30, a formal sentencing hearing was conducted and the decision was made to postpone sentencing for 24 months.

Badoni is allowed to travel anywhere in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado for her job but needs approval from court services if she plans to stay overnight outside Arizona.

Jim sentenced to life for sexual abuse of a child

Robert Jim has been given a life sentence by a federal district court judge after a jury found him guilty on aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and committing an offense by a convicted sex offender.

Jim, no age given, was a resident of the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation when the crime occurred in November 2018.

He has been in custody since then in a case that had several twists and turns.

He was found guilty by a federal grand jury in Prescott and should have been sentenced in the spring of 2020 but sentencing was delayed for more than a year because the courts were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and Jim’s refusal to attend the hearing through a video feed from the jail.

The case centered around the taking of inappropriate pictures of two children on a disposable camera and was uncovered when the film was turned in for developing. Jim claimed that he did not take the photos and that he was being framed because of a property dispute.

Before the jury trial took place, the prosecution submitted a motion precluding the introduction of the photos during the trial. Jim argued that someone else had instructed him to develop the film.

His attorney argued that the photos could be introduced without identifying the names of the two children. The government conceded the fact that he was not the one who took the photos but noted he was in violation of the law by possessing them after the film was developed.

The judge approved the government’s request because of federal laws that preclude that kind of evidence in cases involving a convicted sex offender. He also said that the evidence proved by the photos provides little evidence that Jim was framed.

In his sentencing, Senior Judge Daniel Campbell sentenced him to life for each of the aggravated sex charges with both sentences to run concurrently. He received 20 years on each of the other two counts involving him committing an offense as a convicted sex offender.

These two sentences are to run concurrently with each other and consecutively to the two life sentences. In the unlikely case that he is released from prison, Campbell ordered that he remain under supervised probation for three years.

Tsinnijinnie charged with sexual misconduct

The U.S. Attorney General’s office in Arizona has submitted several cases in the federal district court involving Navajos.

Brian James Tsinnijinnie has been indicted on two charges of knowingly engaging in and attempting to engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of 12.

He was arrested on July 15 and pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing held on July 20. He has been ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office until his jury trial. No date has been set up for that trial.

Ozzy Carl Watchman Sr. was indicted on charges dealing with the assault of “A.B.” on Feb. 20 and causing serious bodily harm using a knife and a bookcase.

He was arrested on July 13 and pleaded not guilty at a hearing on July 16. He has been ordered to remain in custody until his jury trial because he is a flight risk and a danger to his community.

Tohono O’odham police respond to tragic accident

SELLS, Ariz. – At approximately 12:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 31, the Tohono O’odham Police Department responded to a head-on traffic collision between a Border Patrol agent and a civilian motorist on State Route 86 east of Sells, near mile marker 128.

Many other agencies responded to the accident, including a flying medical transport.

A Border Patrol agent and the civilian driver were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said, “The Tohono O’odham Nation is saddened by this tragic incident which took the lives of two individuals. Please keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

The accident is under investigation by the Tohono O’odham Police Department. No further comment was offered.

NM State Police plan checkpoints

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico State Police will conduct sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and registration, insurance and driver’s license checkpoints in all New Mexico counties in August.

In a news release, the police said, “We are bringing awareness to these events in an effort to reduce alcohol-related fatalities through continued media attention and intensive advertising.

“These checkpoints are helping to change society’s attitude about drinking and driving,” the release states. “Hundreds of lives could be saved each year if every driver had the courage to make the right decision not to drink and drive.”

Information: 505-827-9119.


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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