News and Press Releases

Gallup Man Sentenced to Twenty-Five Months in Federal Prison
for Assault Arising From Domestic Violence Incident

Yabeny was Prosecuted as Part of a Federal Initiative to Address the
Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE –Derek Yabeny, 27, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 25 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his assault conviction.  Yabeny also was ordered to participate in domestic violence counseling and counseling for substance abuse.

Yabeny was arrested on a criminal complaint in Oct. 2012, and has been in custody since that time.  He subsequently was indicted and charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and abandonment or abuse of a child.  According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 7, 2012, Yabeny assaulted his girlfriend, who is the mother of his two-year old toddler.  At the time of the assault, the victim was carrying her infant daughter.  The victim sustained two orbital fractures as a result of the assault. 

On Feb. 19, 2013, Yabeny entered a guilty plea to Count one of the indictment.  Yabeny admitted assaulting the victim, a Navajo woman, by striking her with his fists and causing her to suffer serious bodily injury.  The assault occurred on the grounds of the Shiprock Fair, which are located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, on Oct. 7, 2012.

As required by the terms of the plea agreement, Count 2 of the indictment, the child abuse charge, was dismissed after Yabeny was sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Adams. 

This case was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, and seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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