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Police Blotter: To’Hajiilee man charged with assault with bat

Navajo Times

LOS ANGELES

A To’Hajiilee man has been charged with assaulting another man with a baseball bat sending him to the hospital with serious head injuries.

Luke Avery Platero, 30, is currently being held in custody by the U.S. Marshall’s Office in Albuquerque.

According to a criminal complaint filed on May 10, a Navajo Police officer was flagged down as he was driving on Navajo Route 7071 by a woman who said she had received a phone call from Platero who told her he beat up a man identified only as K.P. in the complaint. The officer went to the address given to him by the woman and discovered K.P., 37, laying on the ground covered in blood with visible injuries to the head.

He called for an ambulance and began looking around the area for Platero. He found Platero inside a nearby vehicle.

The officer said in the complaint that Platero admitted to him that he hit the victim with a baseball bat. K.P. was transported to a trauma center in Albuquerque where he underwent emergency surgery.

Platero meanwhile told police where they could find the metal bat he claimed to have used on the victim. Later that day, Platero was interviewed at the Crownpoint jail and had a different take on what occurred.

This time, he said it was K.P. who had the bat and all he did was defend himself. Platero said as K.P. came at him with the bat he was able to avoid him because K.P. was drunk.

Platero said K.P. kept coming at him and he finally didn’t want to deal with him anymore so he picked up a fist-sized rock and hit him on the back of the head with it. K.P. fell to the ground. Platero said he had a large amount of rage inside him because of past altercations with the man.

Because of this rage, he said he picked up the bat and struck him several times on the arms, legs and body. He said he then left K.P. on the ground and went to a neighbor for help.

To’Hajiilee man pleads guilty to assault

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

LOS ANGELES – A To’Hajiilee man has agreed to plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon after being accused of imprisoning a woman in her own home for two days, assaulting her multiple times and then posting semi-nude photos of her on her Facebook page.

This case goes back to Sept. 27, 2019, when medical personnel at the To’Hajiilee Clinic called the FBI and said they were treating a woman who said she had been assaulted at her home and held there against her will by Steven Barbone, 38.

She also claimed Barbone had forced his way into her home, drugged her and refused to allow her to eat any food for two days. Medical officials at the clinic said they tested her for drugs and found methamphetamine in her system. Barbone’s arrest complaint said the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, had no history of taking illegal drugs and said Barbone injected the drug into her.

The FBI contacted Kansas Anton, the Navajo Police officer who did the original investigation, Anton said when he first interviewed Doe shortly after she was assaulted, he noticed multiple bruises and contusions on her face.

He said he also noticed bruises around her biceps and upper body where Barbone had kicked her. Anton said he went to Doe’s house on Oct. 14 and was told by a friend that Doe was not home. She told Anton that Doe’s daughter was at the house while Barbone was there and heard Barbone tell her mother to let him inject the meth into her or else she would be tased.

Anton said later he learned that Barbone had used the taser on her three times to keep her from going to sleep. Her friend told Anton that she visited Doe in the hospital after the assault and found her to be “jittery and scared.”

She told her friend she was also afraid to be alone. Doe was later interviewed by Anton and told him that she had been in a relationship with Barbone since 2004 and that he had been abusive to her on multiple occasions. She said she was hospitalized many times and lied to medical personnel about the cause of her injuries.

She added that she had reported the assaults to tribal police but it seemed to have no effect so she eventually gave up reporting the abuse. She said the day the last attack began, she saw Barbone in her driveway waiting for her. She said she tried to retreat back into her house but Barbone followed her inside. He had an open bottle of vodka and continued to drink from it.

He started yelling at her and she tried to ignore him by doing household chores. The verbal abuse eventually led to physical abuse, she said. He refused to leave and eventually began taking meth, yelling at her to come to him, saying, “I’m not going to get high by myself.” He threatened to hit her and tase her if she refused.

She said she stood there while Barbone used a needle and syringe to inject meth into her arm. She said she began feeling “real shaken” and her heart began beating rapidly. He then forced her to take her shirt and bra off so he could take the photos he would later post on her Facebook page.

She said the physical abuse, which consisted of punches and kicks, began Wednesday and continued until early Friday morning until a member of her family went to her house concerned for her safety after seeing the photos on her Facebook page.

Shortly after being taken to the clinic, she was transferred to a trauma hospital in Albuquerque.

Barbone was arrested on Oct. 29 and has been held in custody since that time. He finally agreed to plead guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon, a crime that has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. In his agreement, he admitted to using the taser on her and punching her. He also agreed to take responsibility for his actions and prosecutor agreed to recommend a reduced sentence.



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