Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Select Page

Court Cases | Drunk driving deaths result in 11-year sentence


Jarred Darnell Benally has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Benally had pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter involving a traffic accident he admitted causing while intoxicated.

According to court records Benally was driving his automobile in an intoxicated state on Oct 17, 2019, at speeds of up to 117 mph just seconds before the accident.

Court records show he had reduced his speed to 95 mph when he struck a vehicle driven by D.B., causing his death.

D.B.’s vehicle then struck another vehicle driven by A.C., who also died from his injuries. Both cars caught on fire.

Both victims were later determined to have died because of severe trauma to their hearts and livers.

Benally faced a maximum of eight years on each count but the prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of 78 months for each count because he agreed to accept responsibility for his actions and showed remorse. Each sentence was to run concurrently.

After serving his sentence, he has been ordered to be on supervised relief for three years.

Sexual abuse nets 8-year sentence

Emerson Pinto, 58, of Crownpoint was sentenced last week by a federal judge in Albuquerque to eight years and one month in federal prison after he entered a guilty plea to two counts of abusive sexual contact with a minor.

Pinto had been arrested in March 2021 after testimony was given that he had inappropriately touched two girls who were below the age of 10 at the time.

The crime occurred in 2009. Pinto had been invited to spend the night at a friend’s house located in McKinley County.

He said in his plea agreement that after the parents of the child had gone to bed, he had walked into their bedroom and touched them inappropriately.

Neither of the girls mentioned this to their parents at the time and it only became known to law enforcement after the girls had reached the age of 18.

Pinto had faced the possibility of a 15-year sentence but the U.S. attorney’s office In Albuquerque petitioned the judge for a reduction based on his willingness to cooperate and the fact that a plea agreement would alleviate the federal government from going through with preparation for a trial.

After he has served his sentence, he has been ordered to be under supervised release for five years.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan wrote about Navajo Nation government and its people since 1971. He joined Navajo Times in 1976, and retired from full-time reporting in 2018 to move to Torrance, Calif., to be near his kids. He continued to write for the Times until his passing in August 2022.


Weather & Road Conditions

Window Rock Weather


70.0 F (21.1 C)
Dewpoint: 32.0 F (0.0 C)
Humidity: 25%
Wind: Southwest at 5.8 MPH (5 KT)
Pressure: 30.35

More weather »