Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Clay Samson Geronimo, 26, a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a federal assault charge. Geronimo entered his guilty plea on Oct. 10, 2014, without the benefit of a plea agreement.
Geronimo was arrested on Feb. 21, 2014, on a criminal complaint alleging that he assaulted a Mescalero Apache woman on Jan. 12, 2014, on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in Otero County, N.M., and caused her to suffer serious bodily injuries. Geronimo was indicted on March 3, 2014, and charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
Court filings reflect that on Jan. 12, 2014, Geronimo assaulted the victim by striking her in the face with his fists. As a result of the assault, the victim sustained a fractured eye socket and fractured nasal bones, which required surgical treatment. Geronimo was arrested on tribal charges on Jan. 12, 2014, and entered a no contest plea in Mescalero Tribal Court.
Geronimo has been in federal custody since his arrest on Feb. 21, 2014 and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Geronimo faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Mescalero Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron O. Jordan of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
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.