Laguna Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Intimate Partner Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Edwin Cheromiah, 28, pleaded guilty this morning to assaulting his intimate partner under a plea agreement that requires him to serve a 72-month federal prison sentence. Cheromiah’s guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, 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.
Cheromiah, a member and resident of Laguna Pueblo, was arrested on Sept. 12, 2013, on an indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury; assault with a dangerous weapon; and possessing and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
This morning, Cheromiah pled guilty to a two-count felony information charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault of an intimate partner by strangling and suffocation. In entering his guilty plea, Cheromiah admitted that on Dec. 27, 2010, he assaulted his intimate partner, an Acoma Pueblo woman, by placing a rifle into the mouth of the victim and threatening to kill her. He further admitted assaulting the victim by strangling her and attempting to suffocate her.
Cheromiah has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. The indictment against Cheromiah will be dismissed after sentence is imposed.
This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Acoma Tribal Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.
This 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.