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Courts | Mexican Springs man charged for stabbing


A Mexican Springs, New Mexico, man on Monday agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the stabbing of a man who had assaulted his mother.

Quentin Smith, 22, is being held in custody by the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Albuquerque pending his sentencing, which has not been set yet.

Court records said the crime occurred on Sept. 24, 2021, at the home of the victim, who was identified as A.S., who was 56 at the time of the incident.

Navajo Police were called to the house with a report by one of Smith’s relatives who had gone with Smith to punish A.S. for what he did to Smith’s mother.

One of the witnesses to the stabbing, identified as M.S., 46, told FBI agents that she and her brother had gone to Gallup earlier that day to buy liquor and then drove to A.S.’s house to drink and talk. She was also listed in the court records as Smith’s mother.

M.S. said she had dated A.S. for about eight years and had been the victim of domestic abuse on numerous occasions. She said later that day, she and A.S. got into a verbal and physical argument. During the altercation, she said A.S. punched her and pulled her hair.

She and her brother, who was not able to protect her because he had a broken ankle, then left and went back to their residence.

When she got home, she told Smith what happened and he, along with his mother and other family members, went to A.S.’s house to show him he could not treat their mother like that. M.S. stressed that all they planned to do was beat him up.

Smith was particularly angry, saying, “I’m going to kick his ass.”

When A.S. opened the door, Smith and his mother ‘jumped him.”

As they drove to A.S.’s house, M.S. said she told Smith not to bring any weapons and settle the dispute with his fists.

She said all she did was kick A.S. in the face but it turned out that Smith had brought a pocket knife to the fight. Smith later told her that he had stabbed A.S. twice. She said he showed her the knife when they left the house.

The next day Smith agreed to waive his rights and be interviewed by FBI agents. He said when he went with his relatives to A.S.’s house, he knew A.S. had beat his mother several times and he decided that “finally something has to be done.”

He said when he and the others got to A.S.’s house, he became upset and the two began fighting. The two fell to the ground and A.S. was preparing to get on top of him when Smith said he “shanked him.” He said he was so intoxicated that he could not control himself.

A.S. managed to bite him in the hand but Smith countered by stabbing him in his back. A.S. told him to stop but he stabbed him again.

Smith and his relatives then left the house. At the time, they did not know A.S. had died.

Smith said he went to his mother’s house and changed his clothes. He then drove to Gallup and rented a motel room. Later he drove back to his mother’s house and picked up the clothes he was wearing during the confrontation. He placed it in the trunk of his car and then got back on the road.

He had only gone a short way, however, before he was stopped by Navajo Police and arrested.

Smith, when told that A.S. had died, said he felt guilty.

ROTC instructor facing felony charges

A staff member at Shiprock High is facing several felony charges after it was discovered he had a sexual relationship with a student.

Ira B. Harris was employed by the school as a ROTC instructor. He now faces charges of engaging in a sexual act with another person if that person is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct, committing a felony in Indian Country, receiving or distributing child pornography and tampering with evidence.

He is currently being held by the U. S. Marshal’s Office in Albuquerque. He faces a possible penalty of 40 years in prison.

Harris was arrested after family members discovered texts between the two and made screenshots of these conversations to show school officials. The texts included sections of conversation between the two talking about sex acts.

The victim was listed as a female who is taking special education classes at the school.

The texts showed that on Dec. 21, 2021, the two met at the school during the Christmas holidays and Harris then drove her to an unknown location on the back roads of the reservation where they had a sexual relationship.

Family members had become worried about her safety when they found she was not at home and began searching for her. They found her later in Harris’s car as he was driving her back home.

Court records said the two communicated with each other though tablets. A number of inappropriate photographs were found on the two tablets the student used.

On one of the tablets, investigators found this message from Harris: “Sorry, I can’t talk right now. I think I lost my job today. I might be going to jail once they read all of your text messages that you didn’t delete. And the police came over to my house today and took all of my guns because they think I might hurt myself.”

Another message said, “My life is totally ruined.”

The criminal complaint said Harris blames the victim for bringing in law enforcement because she did not delete the messages.

Her response showed a desire to meet him and continue the relationship which investigators said proves she was not capable of understanding the seriousness of the charges Harris faces.

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.


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