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Press Release

Mentmore, N.M., Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Bertha Damon, 44, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Mentmore, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a voluntary manslaughter charge this morning.  Damon entered her guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Damon entered her guilty plea to a felony information charging her with killing a man by striking him with a piece of firewood on the Navajo Indian Reservation on May 21, 2011.  According to information presented during today’s plea hearing, Damon and the victim, her husband of 24 years, returned to their home after a night of drinking and began arguing.  During the argument, Damon repeatedly struck the victim in the head with a piece of firewood.  The victim died as the result of multiple blunt force trauma to the head.

At sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled, Damon faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI, the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and the New Mexico State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob A. Wishard is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015