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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 4, 2015

Brothers from Crownpoint Sentenced to Federal Prison for Assault Convictions

ALBUQUERQUE – Two brothers, enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who reside in Crownpoint, N.M., were sentenced yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., for their convictions on assault charges arising out of the brutal attack on another Navajo man in Sept. 2014.  Gabriel Largo, 28, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  His brother, Joshua Largo, 21, was sentenced to 24 months followed by a year of supervised release.

The Largo brothers and their co-defendant Michael Benally, 31, a Navajo man who resides in Littlewater, N.M., were arrested on Sept. 17, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging them with assaulting a 43-year-old Navajo man with a sledgehammer and a rock and causing the victim to suffer serious bodily injuries.  According to the complaint, the assault took place in the Crownpoint Chapter of the Navajo Nation in McKinley County, N.M., on Sept. 5, 2014.

The three defendants subsequently were indicted on Oct. 7, 2014, in a four-count indictment. Count 1 charged Benally with assaulting the victim and causing him serious bodily injury on July 30, 2014.  Count 2 charged Benally, Gabriel Largo and Joshua Largo with conspiring to assault the victim by chasing the victim, throwing rocks at him, kicking him, and striking him with a sledgehammer on Sept. 5, 2014.  Counts 3 and 4 charged the three defendants with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon.

On March 5, 2015, Gabriel Largo pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assault.  In entering his guilty plea, he admitted that on Sept. 5, 2014, he and his co-defendants assaulted the victim.  When the victim ran away from them, Gabriel Largo and his co-defendants chased the victim, threw rocks at him and knocked him down.  In his plea agreement, Gabriel Largo admitted obtaining a sledgehammer from Benally and using it to strike the victim.

Joshua Largo also pled guilty to a felony information on March 5, 2015, and admitted his participation in a conspiracy to assault the victim.  Joshua Largo admitted joining his co-defendants in chasing the victim, throwing rocks at him and knocking him down, and hitting and kicking the victim.

Benally pled guilty on March 27, 2015, to a felony information charging him with conspiracy to commit assault resulting in bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon.  In entering his guilty plea, Benally admitted that on Sept. 5, 2014, he and his co-defendants approached the victim who was selling firewood.  When the victim ran away from them, the three defendants chased the victim, threw rocks at him and knocked him down.  The three men then hit and kicked the victim.  Benally admitted taking a sledgehammer from his truck and striking the victim in the legs with it with the intention of injuring and harming him.  At some point Benally handed the sledgehammer to Gabriel Largo who used it to strike the victim.

Benally remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for on June 29, 2015.   At sentencing, Benally faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

This case was investigated by the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Mott.

Component(s): 
Updated June 4, 2015