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To’hajiilee man sentenced to 46 months for beating girlfriend

LOS ANGELES

A To’hajiilee man has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison after pleading not guilty to striking his girlfriend almost 30 times in the face and body with his fists after accusing her of seeing someone else.

In his sentencing, Lyle R. Begaye, 44, was described by the sentencing judge as a “serial terrorizer of women.”

Begaye was arrested by FBI agents several weeks after they interviewed his girlfriend, who was identified in court records as Jane Doe.

At the time she was recuperating at an Albuquerque trauma center for injuries she suffered in a brutal assault that occurred at her house on May 31, 2019.

She told FBI agents she was cuddling in bed with Begay when he accused her of “messing around” with another man. She denied it but said Begaye became angry and hit her in the eye.

He then put up obstacles in front of the two doors to the bedroom and threw her into a closet telling her not to attempt to leave the room. He asked her if she planned to call police and said, “You’re not going anywhere.”

After a while, she said he dragged her back to her bed and began questioning her about her relationship with some of his friends. He then named three of his friends and spelled out their names letter by letter, striking her face and her body with his fists after each letter.

She said she begged him to stop because she was having problems breathing, only to hear him reply that this was all her fault for disrespecting him.

She said she continued to complain but he refused saying she was going to call the police on him.

She continued to deny any such plans and told him that if anyone asked how she had been injured, she would say she was jumped by strangers.

She finally convinced him to release her and as she was getting into her car, he again told her not to tell police what really happened, saying if he heard she told police he was involved, he planned to “take off far from her.”

But as soon as she got away, she said she began looking for a police officer. When she was unable to find one, she drove to Albuquerque and went to a hospital emergency room.

Doctors told police she had four broken ribs and two fractured lumbar vertebrae. She estimated her pain level to be nine on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worst pain.

She told FBI agents that she had been in a relationship with Begaye for two years and had been physically abused before but not as severe as this one was.

In his sentencing memo, Begaye’s public defender urged the judge not to go beyond a 46-month sentence, saying his mother had described him as being “kind, loving, strong, healthy, smart and friendly.”

He said Begaye spent much of his adulthood trying to protect her from her husband who was abusive toward her up until his death in 2017 from being struck by a car as he was crossing a road.
A graduate of Window Rock High School, the memo said he escaped the turmoil at his home by participating in sports.

His attorney said he was especially close to his sister Rama and they would spend countless hours with each other discussing their problems at home.

At the time of his arrest on these charges, he had been attending the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute pursuing an associate degree, having gotten all As in his last quarter.

While being detained at the Cibola County Detention Center, he had become involved in taking a 12-step alcohol recovery program.

The prosecution also pushed for a 46-month prison sentence as this was the term both sides agreed on in the plea agreement.

]The sentencing memo said Begaye carried through with his promise to go away if Doe told on him to police. They searched for him at SIPI but couldn’t find him but they were able to track him through his comments on his Facebook page where he made fun of the efforts to arrest him saying at one time “U can’t catch what U can’t C.”

He was finally captured at a mall in Tempe, Arizona.

During his incarceration in Grants, he asked for a furlough to attend a funeral which was denied in part of a statement from Doe who said she continued to be afraid for her life.

She said her life has completely changed since the assault, with her being in constant fear having experienced hatred and is overcome with stress.

Sheep Springs man awaits sentencing for murder

A Sheep Springs man is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the 2015 killing of a man at the Sheep Springs Chapter.

Mathias Neal was only 15 at the time of the murder. He was facing the possibility of a life sentence in prison but in a plea agreement the federal prosecutor agreed to recommend a five-year sentence.

Court records said the incident occurred on July 12, 2015.

“G.N. and I engaged in a physical altercation with John Doe (as he is referred to n court records). In addition to punching and kicking his body while he was on the ground, G.N. and I hit him with brass knuckles and rocks in the head and throat, causing him fatal injuries,” he said in his plea agreement.

John Doe tried to get up, he added, and put up no defense.

Before he could get up, Neal said he hit him with another rock, resulting in him stopping breathing. He said he then dragged the body to a nearby windmill and left it there.

The medical examiner later listed blunt force trauma as the cause of death.

Neal’s partner, Garrett Neal, was arrested in September 2018 and entered into a plea agreement with the U. S. Attorney’s Office this past October. Also facing a life sentence for second degree murder, the prosecution agreed to recommend a sentence for Garrett Neal of between five and 15 years.

In his account of the crime, he gave basically the same story although he added that when Doe was on the ground, he hit him in the throat and could then hear him trying to breathe.

Both are currently waiting formal sentencing in the custody of the U. S. Marshall’s Office in Albuquerque.


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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