News and Press Releases

Acoma Pueblo Man Sentenced to Forty Months
for Domestic Assault by a Habitual Offender

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE – Eric Thomas Valley, 42, was sentenced this morning to 40 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction for domestic assault by a habitual offender.  The sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, DuWayne W. Honahni, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of District IV of BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and Police Chief Vincent M. Mariano of the Acoma Tribal Police Department.

Valley, a member and resident of Acoma Pueblo, was arrested in Oct. 2012, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he assaulted his domestic partner, also a member of Acoma Pueblo, by striking her in the head with a wooden rolling pin.  The victim sustained numerous injuries, including three lacerations to the head that had to be stapled closed, as a result of the assault.  Valley subsequently was charged in a three-count indictment with (1) domestic assault by a habitual offender; (2) assault resulting in serious bodily injury; and (3) assault with a dangerous weapon. 

In April 2013, Valley pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment and admitted assaulting his girlfriend on Oct. 10, 2012, on Acoma Pueblo.  Valley also admitted that he previously has been convicted on domestic violence offenses on two occasions.  Court records reflect that Valley has prior convictions for battery on a household member in Magistrate’s Court in Cibola County, N.M., in June 2005, and battery against a household member in Acoma Tribal Court in May 2009.

This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and the Acoma Tribal Police Department, and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback. 

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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