Isleta Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Indian Woman and a Federal Officer
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Jonathan Abeita, 23, an enrolled member of the Isleta Pueblo who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to assault charges, including an assault on a federal officer charge. The plea agreement recommends that Abeita be sentenced to 17 months of imprisonment followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Abeita was arrested on March 8, 2017, on an indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault on a federal officer. According to the indictment, Abeita committed the crimes on Aug. 13, 2016, on Isleta Pueblo in Valencia County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Abeita pled guilty to the indictment. In his plea agreement, Abeita admitted that on Aug. 13, 2016, he assaulted one victim, an Indian woman, by threatening her and punching her, causing her bottom teeth to become loose. Abeita also admitted that when tribal police officers responded to a call from the victim, he assaulted a tribal police officer who was commissioned as a Special Federal Officer by the BIA with a hatchet. Abeita remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Isleta Pueblo Tribal Police Department and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy B. Solimon as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico, which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native American 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.