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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Laguna Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting his Intimate Partner by Strangulation and Attempted Manslaughter

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Duane Day, 25, a member and resident of Laguna Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this morning to an assault and attempted manslaughter charges arising out of the strangulation of his intimate partner.

Day was arrested on May 22, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with attempt to commit manslaughter, assault of an intimate partner by strangling, and child abuse.  According to the complaint, on May 12, 2014, in Laguna Pueblo within Cibola County N.M., Day assaulted the victim, a Laguna Pueblo woman, by strangling her and causing her to lose consciousness.  It further alleges that Day fled the scene of the assault with the victim’s two young children, an 11-month-old and a two-year-old, to a nearby mesa.  The complaint further alleges that the victim suffered a severe stroke as a result of the strangulation which required her to undergo emergency brain surgery to relieve swelling and bleeding in the brain.

Day subsequently was indicted on June 11, 2014, and charged in with assaulting an intimate partner by strangling and suffocating; attempted manslaughter; and endangering the lives and health of two children.

During today’s proceedings, Day pled guilty to Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment.  In entering his plea agreement, Day admitted that on May 12, 2014, he assaulted the victim by placing his knee on her neck and placing his hand over her mouth causing her to suffocate.  Day acknowledged that he attempted to kill the victim by impeding the victim’s breathing to the point of her losing consciousness.

At sentencing Day faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison on the assault by strangulation charge and seven years in prison on the attempted manslaughter charge.  Day remains detained pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services, and the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams is prosecuting this case.

The case was brought pursuant to 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 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 March 11, 2015