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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Navajo Man from Littlewater, N.M., Sentenced to Prison for Federal Assault Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Benally, 31, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Littlewater, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 41 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his assault conviction.  Benally is the last of three defendants to be sentenced in this case.

Benally and co-defendants Gabriel Largo, 28, and Joshua Largo, 20, both enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who reside in Crownpoint, N.M., were arrested on Sept. 17, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging them with assaulting a Navajo man with a sledgehammer and a rock and causing him serious bodily injury.  According to the complaint, the assault took place in the Crownpoint Chapter of the Navajo Nation in McKinley County, N.M., on Sept. 5, 2014.

The three co-defendants subsequently were indicted on Oct. 7, 2014, in a four-count indictment. Count 1 charged Benally with assaulting the victim and causing him serious bodily injury on July 30, 2014.  Count 2 charged Benally, Gabriel Largo and Joshua Largo with conspiring to assault the victim by chasing the victim, throwing rocks at him, kicking him, and striking him with a sledgehammer on Sept. 5, 2014.  Counts 3 and 4 charged the three defendants with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon.

On March 27, 2015, Benally pled guilty to a felony information charging him with conspiracy to commit assault resulting in bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon.  Benally admitted that on Sept. 5, 2014, he and his co-defendants approached the victim who was selling firewood.  When the victim ran away from them, Benally and his co-defendants chased the victim, threw rocks at him and knocked him down.  The three men then hit and kicked the victim.  In his plea agreement, Benally admitted taking a sledgehammer from his truck and striking the victim in the legs with it with the intention of injuring and harming him.  Benally further admitted that at some point he handed the sledgehammer to Gabriel Largo who used it to strike the victim.

On March 5, 2015, Gabriel Largo pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assault, and admitted that on Sept. 5, 2014, he and his co-defendants assaulted the victim.  When the victim ran away from them, Gabriel Largo and his co-defendants chased the victim, threw rocks at him and knocked him down.  In his plea agreement, Gabriel Largo admitted obtaining a sledgehammer from Benally and using it to strike the victim.

Joshua Largo also pled guilty to a felony information on March 5, 2015, and admitted his participation in a conspiracy to assault the victim.  Joshua Largo admitted joining his co-defendants in chasing the victim, throwing rocks at him and knocking him down, and hitting and kicking the victim.

Gabriel Largo and Joshua Largo were both sentenced on June 4, 2015, for their assault convictions.  Garbiel Largo was sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by three year of supervised release, while his brother Joshua Largo was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Mott.

Component(s): 
Updated July 20, 2015