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Police Report: Shiprock man pleads guilty to stabbing


A Shiprock man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to stabbing his aunt several times and then stealing her pickup to go to Farmington to steal drugs to get high.

Tenor Tom, 38, was arrested that same day after he got into a one-vehicle crash, disabling the pickup. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

According to court records, the body of the victim was discovered by her father on the morning of July 2, 2019.

He lived next door to his daughter and had gone over to check on her after her adult children called him and said they had been calling her for hours with no response.

The victim, who was 46 years old, was found lying on the floor in her bedroom. Police observed a poll of blood around the body, caused by several lacerations to her head and chest.

At about the same time, Navajo Police were investigating a one-vehicle accident near Nenahnezad. The vehicle was owned by the deceased and Tom had been found passed out behind the wheel and had been transported to a nearby hospital.

Tom was an immediate suspect especially when her father and sister reported that Tom regularly took her vehicle without her permission to drive to drug stores to steal Mucinex to get high.
Police investigating the accident said Tom had driven off the road and hit a fence. He was also reportedly trying to overdose on Mucinex.

Police also reported finding a knife in the vehicle. The knife was covered with a red substance believed to be blood.

Police said Tom is the son of the victim’s sister who lives with her son close to the victim’s house. Her sister said she had had gone by the victim’s home the preceding evening but left when she noticed that her vehicle was not parked in front of her house.

When FBI agents visited Tom in the hospital, he admitted killing his aunt with a folding knife he had found in his father’s vehicle, according to court records.

He said he had gone by her house to steal her vehicle so he could drive to Farmington and steal Mucinex.

He said when he got to the victim’s house, he slit her throat and stabbed her seven or eight times. He gave no reason for his actions.

Crownpoint man sentenced for assault on child

A Crownpoint man has been given a sentence of five years in federal prison for the assault of a young child during an evening of fighting with his girlfriend and her mother.
Kevin Lewis, 32, pleaded guilty to the assault charge.

According to court records, on May 28, 2019, Lewis was picked up after work by his girlfriend, identified as M.B., after 11 p.m. at the Sky City Casino east of Grants. The two had dinner in the casino’s restaurant.

Both had alcoholic beverages during the meal. She later told police that Lewis became agitated during the meal and caused a disturbance, resulting in the casino’s security staff asking them to leave.

After leaving the casino, they stopped in Grants where they went to a McDonald’s to get food for their children, who were at home in Casamero Lake. After getting the food, Lewis began arguing with one of the workers over french fries, trying to get him to fight.

M.B. said she managed to get Lewis to leave without fighting and the two headed to Casamero Lake. Everything was going well – they were laughing and talking – until they reached the Prewitt turnoff when Lewis stopped the car and began beating and choking her.

This eventually stopped and they continued on. Lewis stopped the car and got out for a bathroom break. M.B. said she used this opportunity to get into the driver’s seat and drive away.

She reached the house she lived in with her mother. When she got inside, her mother saw her injuries and asked what happened. She said she told her about Lewis and went to the back of the house.

A little while later, she heard her mother yell, “We don’t want you here!”

When she got to the front room, she saw her mother standing in front of the door, not letting Lewis in. She said that didn’t work as Lewis broke the front door window and came in.

He then began fighting with her mother, hitting her with his fist, and then causing her to fall to the floor. M.B. said she came in carrying their four-month-old baby when Lewis attacked her, pulling her outside and then hitting her, causing her to fall to the ground.

As she fell, she said she tried to cup her daughter’s head but it hit the concrete as well. She said she saw Lewis kick her daughter in the forehead.

She was then able to shield her baby from any further blows as her mother called police. Lewis left.

Both the daughter and her baby were transported to a hospital in Grants. The baby was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment of a fractured skull.

To’hajiilee man pleads guilty to assault

A To’hajiilee man has been sentenced to more than six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to holding a woman hostage for two days, sexually assaulting her. And forcing her to take drugs.

Steven Barbone, 38, pleaded guilty on April 12 to assault with a dangerous weapon in Indian Country. He received a sentence of six years and four months and when he gets out, three years of supervised probation.

The FBI was made aware of the case on Sept. 27, 2019, when officials of a medical clinic called their Albuquerque office and told them that a To’hajiilee woman had been admitted for injuries she suffered while being held hostage in her own home.

She claimed that Barbone had forced his way to her home, raped her, forced her to take drugs and then denied her food for two days.

She said during those two days, he also took photos of her partially nude and forced her to post them on her Facebook page.

The clinic conducted drug tests and found meth in her system. She said she was not a drug user and had been forced to inject the meth into her arm.

Navajo Police who interviewed her said they observed numerous bruises and contusions on her body including her stomach where she said Barbone kicked her.

The victim’s daughter, who was there for part of the two days, told FBI agents that she heard Barbone threaten to tase her if she refused to inject the meth into her arm. An investigation revealed that Barbone had been in possession of a Taser, which he used three times to keep her awake.

Clinic staff said they visited the woman during her hospital stay and found her to be “weak and dehydrated.” She also reported being scared and jittery and did not want to be left alone.

She said she had been in a relationship with Barbone for the past 15 years and was abused every time he drank, which was two or three times a week. She said she was often hospitalized and lied to hospital staff each time about the cause of the injuries.

She said she had also reported the abuse to police on several occasions but it didn’t change anything so she decided to just stop reporting it.

The latest incident began on Wednesday morning when she went outside her home and found Barbone in her driveway. She said she tried to get back in her house and lock the door but he followed her inside.

She said she began cleaning the house hoping he would leave but he brought a bottle of vodka with him and began drinking.

She said she told him numerous times to leave but he ignored her. He then began taking meth and told her, “Get over here. I’m not getting high by myself. Either you take it or you get hit.”

She said the drugs made her feel “shaken.” It was during this time that he took photos of her topless and had her post them on her Facebook page.

The abuse continued through Wednesday until Friday morning when some of Barbone’s family showed up after seeing the photos on her Facebook page and became concerned about her welfare.

The prosecution had asked for a sentence of 77 months, citing his numerous arrests by tribal police over the previous decade. The judge basically agreed, giving him 76 months.

Barbone, through his defense attorney, had argued that increasing his sentence for violent actions was unfair. Although he pleaded guilty, he did not admit any violent act except the use of the Taser.

His attorney also claimed that both his client and the victim have used alcohol and drugs. In fact, he said, it was the victim who purchased the alcohol since his client had no money.
Barbone also objected to the finding that he caused serious bodily harm to the victim.

“The use of a Taser or even the other allegations of physical abuse did not cause the hospitalization,” his attorney said. “Apparently, the hospitalization was from her insulin imbalance from her voluntary drinking.”

His attorney argued that the victim was angry at his client and downplayed parts of her account where her conduct was voluntary, not forced.

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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