Mescalero Apache Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Tenya Lester-Gonzales, 37, a member and resident of the Mescalero Apache Nation, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in Las Cruces federal court to a felony information alleging an assault with a dangerous weapon charge.
During her plea hearing, Lester-Gonzales admitting assaulting her husband with a hatchet in their home on the Mescalero Apache Reservation on March 30, 2012. In her plea agreement, Lester-Gonzales acknowledged intentionally striking the victim in the head and causing him serious bodily injury.
According to court filings, Lester-Gonzales and the victim both were intoxicated when they got into a verbal fight outside their residence on the night of March 30, 2012. After a witness separated the two, Lester-Gonzales went into the residence and returned with a hatchet which she used to strike the victim in the head. The victim sustained a cut on the face that was four inches long and a quarter inch wide as a result of the assault.
Lester-Gonzales was arrested on assault charges in Jan. 2013, after she was transferred from state custody to federal custody and has been in federal custody since that time. Lester-Gonzales remains detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Lester-Gonzales faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and three years of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and 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.