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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mescalero Apache Man Sentenced for Federal Assault Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Russel Patrick Bearshield, 30, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 30 months in prison for his assault conviction.  He will be on supervised release for two years after completing his prison sentence.

The BIA arrested Bearshield on June 23, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting a Mescalero Apache woman on Sept. 9, 2016, on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in Otero County, N.M.  Bearshield assaulted the woman by throwing a television at her, and by punching, striking and kicking her in the face. 

On Oct. 5, 2017, Bearshield pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  In entering the guilty plea, Bearshield admitted that on Sept. 9, 2016, he assaulted the victim by punching her several times with a closed fist.  As the result of the assault, the victim suffered a fractured orbital bone, which required surgery.

This case was investigated by the Mescalero Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and was 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.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated April 19, 2018