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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Laguna Pueblo Man Sentenced for Conviction on Assault by Strangulation and Attempted Manslaughter Charges

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., was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his assault by strangulation and attempted manslaughter charges.

Day was arrested on May 22, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with attempted 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. 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.  Court documents indicate 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 with (1) assaulting an intimate partner by strangling; (2) attempted manslaughter; and (3) endangering the lives and health of two children.

On March 11, 2015, Day pled guilty to Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment.  In entering his guilty plea, 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 causing her to lose consciousness.

U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez commended the FBI, BIA and Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Police Department on their outstanding investigation of this case and also noted the invaluable work of the Victim Advocates who assisted the victim to reclaim her life as she recuperated from the life threatening injuries she sustained at the hands of her intimate partner.  “Victim Advocates play a critically important role in violent crime cases.  In addition to assisting victims to obtain the services they require to ease the impact of victimization and to assert their rights in the criminal justice system, they often speak on behalf of victims,” said U.S. Attorney Martinez.  “The Victim Advocates from the BIA, FBI, Laguna Pueblo and the U.S. Attorney’s Office did all that and more in this case.  In this case, the Victim Advocates helped the victim find her own voice so that she no longer views herself as a victim.  Today she is a survivor who is using her voice to help other women who are victims of domestic violence.”

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

Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated February 4, 2016