Suspect facing federal drug charges
Navajo Nation Police and FBI agents arrested a Tuba City woman who is facing federal drug charges.
Katrina Lynn Henderson is facing possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute charges.
According to court records, Navajo Police responded on Oct. 12 to a call that a female, later identified as Henderson, had fired a 9mm handgun inside a house on Stanley Drive. When tribal police went to the house, relatives of Henderson told police that Henderson was either in her bedroom or had left the house on foot. They said they were not sure whether Henderson still had possession of the handgun.
A search of the bedroom and backyard failed to locate her but police found footprints leading away from the house. They followed the footprints and found Henderson hiding in a compact space.
She was arrested on charges of criminal damage and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.
She was carrying a backpack and police asked her if the handgun was inside it. She said no, she left the handgun outside her residence. She also told police she had tested positive for COVID-19 and an ambulance was called to take her to a hospital to get a medical clearance.
While waiting for the ambulance, police searched her handbag and found the handgun with a full magazine still in the weapon. Also in the handbag were nine small, clear baggies. Police also found $1,045 in cash and 29 grams of a crystal-like substance, which later tested positive for meth.
However she was never booked into the Tuba City Detention Center because she later fled from the hospital and was not located by police. She was arrested on Oct. 15 and remains in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Prescott.
Man gets 3 years for 2017 assault
The first of three men accused of assaulting a man on the Navajo Reservation in 2017 was sentenced to 36 months in prison for his involvement in the crime. Derwin Williams, 44, entered a guilty plea on June 5 to the assault which caused serious bodily injury. He and two other men, Marty Manuelito, 46, and Joelson Talk, 44, allegedly went to the victim’s residence on April 17, 2017 to retrieve a gun.
While at the residence, the three allegedly assaulted the victim, causing him numerous cuts on his body. They are also accused of kicking him multiple times. Besides the cuts, he also received a concussion, fractures to his nose and spine and a broken tooth.
According to court records, Talk agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and in doing so, explained that the assault was in retaliation for reports the victim planned to sexually assault his girlfriend. He also claimed that the victim had stolen a gun from him. U.S. Attorney Johnny Anderson said in a statement to the court that his office could find no evidence to confirm the allegation that Talk’s girlfriend had been threatened.
The victim did have a gun but prosecutors were unable to determine where it came from. “Vigilante justice is not to be tolerated,” said Anderson, “but it is understandable why an individual might get upset at hearing that kind of information, especially when Talk formulated violence and retribution and providing alcohol to an already combustible situation.”
Jerry Herrera, Williams’ public defender, in his plea to the court for a reduced sentence said Williams had a long history of alcohol abuse, which brought him into encounters with law enforcement on numerous occasions. He said Williams was born into a family where he had 11 brothers and sisters. Williams described his father as a violent drunk who mentally and physically abused all members of his family, which resulted in all members of the family having problems with alcohol.
Williams said he began drinking at the age of 13. He said he has attended rehab facilities in the past but does not believe they helped him. He requested alcohol counseling while he serves his sentence. Talk has entered a motion to enter into a plea agreement and Manuelito”s case is still going through the court system.
Sheep Springs man pleads guilty to murder
A Sheep Springs, New Mexico, man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in federal court last week, admitting he beat the victim to death at the Sheep Springs Chapter House in 2015.
Garrett Neal, 27, was facing first-degree murder charges before entering a guilty plea. Facing a possible life sentence, he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge in exchange for a sentence of five to 15 years. He admitted in court that he was responsible for the injuries that caused the death of the man who was identified in court records as John Doe.
“In addition to punching and kicking John Doe while he was on the ground, I hit him with brass knuckles and rocks in the head, causing him to have fatal injuries,” he said in a statement to the court. “I punched him in the throat and could hear him trying to breathe,” he said, adding he tried to run away. “He did not fight back.”
An autopsy discovered John Doe died of blunt force injuries and Neal admitted in court that he was responsible for those injuries. There was another man involved in the fight who also helped him take the body to a windmill near the chapter house where they left the body. The name of the other man was not given and there is no indication charges were ever placed against him.
Another fact court records did not explain was that while the murder took place in 2015, Neal was not arrested until Aug. 28, 2018.
Bia charged with involuntary manslaughter
Melvin Ryan Bia was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a man in the Arizona portion of the Navajo Reservation.
He is also facing three counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. His indictment last week by a federal grand jury in Prescott did not contain any details about the crime except that the victim was identified as B.J.
Other victims of the assault were identified as B.J., O.J. and J.L.B. Bia is currently being held in custody by the U. S. Marshall’s Office in Prescott.
Sexual assault charges filed against 2
Two Shiprock area men are facing multiple sexual assault charges in federal district court for allegedly forcing a 14-year-old boy to submit to their sexual overtures.
Bryan Bull, 39, of Shiprock, and Jeremiah Elijah Jim, 40, of Teec Nos Pos, have been charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, sexual contact of a minor in Indian Country, as well as aiding and abetting in the abuse.
According to their indictment, the two threatened the minor with severe injuries and then sexually assaulted him. This allegedly occurred in Shiprock. Both are currently being held in custody by the U.S. Marshall’s Office.
On Oct. 27, Bull filed a request with the federal court asking for a three-day furlough so he could spend time with a close relative who is gravely ill and may not have long to live. He pointed out that he has no criminal record and his mother, who works in the Shiprock tribal court, has agreed to serve as a third party custodian. He said he would agree to any conditions imposed the court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office opposed the request, pointing out that if he is found guilty, he faces a 30-year prison sentence. Although Bull claims he has evidence in his favor, prosecutors are arguing that the federal government has enough evidence to convict him.
“The facto circumstances of Bull’s crime is particularly egregious,” according to their response to the request.
Bull and Jim were working at a church revival on June 30. The two lured a 14-year-boy with developmental problems to spend the night with them. After the boy set up his tent and went inside to sleep, the two reportedly entered the tent and forced the youth to submit to their sexual assault by placing a knife at his throat. After being raped, the youth left and went back home and reported the crime to his mother who reported it to authorities.
The prosecutor’s response said that when Bull was interviewed, he admitted to the gruesome details of the crime. “While there is certainly the presumption of innocence, it is on rare occasions that the government has such compelling evidence in a case of this nature,” the response said, adding that because of the length of the possible sentence, Bull was considered a flight risk. So far there has not been a ruling in Bull’s request.