Acoma Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to a Domestic Assault by a Habitual Offender Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Eric Thomas Valley, 42, pleaded guilty this morning to a domestic assault by a habitual offender charge under a plea agreement that requires him to serve a 40 month federal prison sentence. Valley’s guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, 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 on Oct. 23, 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 on Oct. 10, 2012. The victim sustained numerous injuries, including three lacerations to the head that had to be stapled closed, as a result of the assault.
This morning, Valley pled guilty to Count 1 of a three-count indictment charging him with domestic assault by a habitual offender; assault resulting in serious bodily injury; and assault with a dangerous weapon. In entering his guilty plea, Valley 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 (1) battery on a household member in Magistrate’s Court in Cibola County, N.M., in June 2005, and (2) battery against a household member in Acoma Tribal Court in May 2009.
Valley has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Laguna/Acoma Agency, and the Acoma Tribal Police Department, and is being 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.