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Courts Report: Breadsprings shooter sentenced to 19 years

LOS ANGELES

A Breadsprings, New Mexico, woman was sentenced to 19 years in federal prison for voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm during a crime of violence by a federal judge in Albuquerque last week.

Trudy Martinez, pleaded guilty last March to shooting her 38-year-old sister-in-law in the stomach with an AK-15 assault rifle during an argument.

According to court records, the crime occurred on April 26, 2019 in an open field near the Twin Lakes residence.

One witness, who was a daughter of the victim, said, when she came home that day, she saw Martinez cleaning up the yard. Martinez went into the house complaining that no one was helping her with the cleaning.

She said the victim was inside the house with her children. When Martinez went into the house, she saw she saw Martinez push the victim. The two began arguing and Martinez yelled for the victim and her children to leave the house.

The witness said she then saw Martinez leave the house and go to a nearby pickup truck where she retrieved a rifle. She then walked back into the house and began loading the gun.
At that point, the victim attempted to take the rifle from her. As the victim approached Martinez, the witness said she saw Martinez fire the rifle twice.

The first shot missed but the second hit her in the stomach. The witness said Martinez then pointed the gun at her and yelled something. The girl ran out of the house and went next door to tell her grandmother.

They then went back to the Martinez house and transported the victim to a nearby hospital.

Another witness who saw the shooting said Martinez turned to her and said the altercation began over trash.
Martinez is currently in custody. No sentencing date has been set.

Yazzie pleads guilty to sexual abuse

Dexter Yazzie, who was indicted in November of 2019 on four counts of sexual abuse of a minor, last week pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse a minor in federal district court in Prescott.

Yazzie, no age given, admitted committing the crime on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Reservation.

He admitted in his plea agreement that he sexually assaulted a female under the age of 16.

He was facing a maximum sentence of 15 years but prosecutors have made no recommendation in the plea agreement as to what the prison term should be.

Yazzie currently remains n the custody of the Marshall’s Office in Prescott. No date has been scheduled for the sentencing.

Prewitt man pleads guilty to manslaughter

A Prewitt, New Mexico, man last week agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, admitting for the first time that killing another man in Prewitt was not justified.

In his plea agreement, Brandon Charley, no age given, admitted that, when he was arrested, he had a belief that his use of deadly force was justified because another person’s life was in danger.

“I now recognize that a jury would have substantial evidence that my belief was not objectively reasonable,” he said.

When he was arrested by the FBI in August, 2018, he was charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence for a shooting death on Pillowcrest Road in Prewitt.

The Navajo Police began an investigation. When FBI agents arrived on the scene, they found the body of the 24-year-old victim under a sheet.

Death was caused by a gunshot. At the time, a man identified only as E.T. was taken into custody as a suspect in the shooting.

The investigation took a different route when E.T. told them that the person responsible for the shooting was Charley, who had been a passenger in his car.

E.T. said the incident began earlier that day when he and Charley had come upon the victim striking an unknown female.

When the two ran toward the man, he ran away. A few minutes later as the two were talking to the female, he came back this time holding a neon pink baseball bat.

E.T. and Charley immediately got back in their car and left the area. E.T. said as they were leaving he heard his back window shattering but he didn’t know if it was from a rock or a gunshot.

E.T. said he went back to his residence whereupon Charley came out a couple of minutes later carrying a handgun.

The two then drove back to the area where they saw the man beating the woman. E.T. said he agreed to driving Charley to the scene out of fear.

At some point, Charley told him to stop and got out of the vehicle. As E.T. was turning the car around to head back home, he heard gunshots. Charley then got back into the car and told him, “Go.”

Charley was placed under arrest immediately. He refused to give police an interview.

If found guilty by a jury, Charley was facing a maximum sentence of 15 years. By pleading guilty and showing remorse for his action, the prosecution agreed to recommend a sentence two levels down from the maximum.

Charley has already been in custody for three years and remains in custody awaiting his formal sentencing. No date has been set for that.

San Juan man pleads guilty to use of deadly weapon

A San Juan man has pleaded guilty to assault on a federal employee involving the use of a deadly weapon.

Ewing Todacheene, no age given, was arrested in April 2020, three days after the incident occurred near the Dzith-Na-O-Hle Health Clinic southeast of Farmington.

According to court records, the incident occurred on April 2, 2020, when someone in a dark-colored Jeep was seen shooting at homes near the health clinic and pointing a firearm at people.

Witnesses at the scene gave San Juan County Sherriff deputies a tentative identification of Todacheene as the possible shooter.

A search of the area revealed that Todacheene was driving a Jeep matching the description of the suspected vehicle. Deputies found in plain sight in a rear seat an Ak-15 assault rifle and several magazines of ammunition.

The FBI interviewed several witnesses who said they witnessed the shooting and were in fear for their lives.

One man, identified as C.W. in court records, said he was at the gate to his property when Deschene pointed the rifle at him telling him to shut the gate to his property or he would shoot him,

Deschene remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshall’s Office in Albuquerque pending his sentencing. No date for that has been set.


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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