News and Press Releases

Navajo man pleads guilty to federal assault charge

January 11, 2011

This morning, Kinslen Smith, 45, of Tseyahtah, New Mexico in the Navajo Nation, entered a guilty plea to a federal assault charge (assault with a dangerous weapon) before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office. In the plea agreement, Smith and United States Attorney’s Office agree to recommend that Smith be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 37 to 46 months. Smith has been in federal custody since his arrest on October 27, 2010 and his sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the two-count federal indictment filed in the case charged Smith with (1) assault with a dangerous weapon and (2) assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Smith entered his guilty plea to count one of the indictment. Count two of the indictment will be dismissed at sentencing under the terms of the plea agreement.

The charges against Smith stem from an October 15, 2010 incident during which Smith assaulted his sister, Teresa Smith, with steel-toed boots and a reclining chair. According to a criminal complaint filed on October 26, 2010, Smith assaulted Teresa Smith in the family hogan after she complained about the failure of Smith’s girlfriend to assist with household chores. The complaint alleges that Smith grabbed Teresa Smith by the throat and threw her onto the floor, and then kicked her in the face, head and torso with his steel-toed boots. Smith then choked Teresa Smith, threatened to kill her, and broke a wooden reclining chair over her head as she attempted to crawl away. Teresa Smith subsequently received medical attention at Rehoboth McKinley County Hospital where she was diagnosed with torn ear cartilage, petechia and severe bruising on her face, torso, arms and legs.

In his plea agreement, Smith admitted that he assaulted Ms. Smith with steel-toed boots and a reclining wood chair, both of which were dangerous weapons. Smith also admitted that his assault on Ms. Smith was unjustified and inexcusable and that he assaulted her with the intention of causing her injury. Smith and his sister are both enrolled members of the Navajo Nation.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shana B. Pennington.

(Download Criminal Complaint adobe icon)
(Download Indictment adobe icon)



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