Beclabito, N.M., Man Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Stanford Benally, 41, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Beclabito, N.M., pled guilty this morning to an involuntary manslaughter charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Benally was arrested on Sept. 11, 2012, on an indictment charging him with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. The second degree murder charge alleged that, on May 19, 2012, Benally caused the death of a minor female by serving her liquor and failing to provide care and seek medical attention for her in a manner that evinced a callous and wanton disregard for human life. The involuntary manslaughter charge alleged that Benally caused the death of victim, who was unconscious and intoxicated, by negligently failing to provide care or to seek medical assistance for the victim.
During this morning’s proceedings, Benally pled guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge. In entering his guilty plea, Benally admitted that, on May 19, 2012, he killed his daughter by negligently failing to provide care or seeking medical assistance for her even though he knew she was unconscious and intoxicated. He further admitted that his criminal act took place on the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Benally has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Benally faces a maximum penalty of eight years in prison. The second degree murder charge will be dismissed after Benally is sentenced.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer M. Rozzoni and Jack E. Burkhead, and was investigated by the Albuquerque and Farmington offices of the FBI and the Shiprock Division of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety.