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Justice News

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gallup Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charge Arising From Domestic Violence Incident

ALBUQUERQUE –Derek Yabeny, 26, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., pled guilty this morning to a federal assault charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Yabeny was arrested on a criminal complaint in Oct. 2012. 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.

During today’s proceedings, Yabeny pled guilty to Count one of the indictment. In entering his guilty plea, 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.

Yabeny has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 26, 2012, and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Yabeny will be sentenced to 25 months in prison followed by a supervised release term to be determined by the court.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Shiprock Division of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, and is being 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.

Updated January 26, 2015