Navajo Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Conviction
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women
ALBUQUERQUE – Gary John Bedoni, 60, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fruitland, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 144 months in prison for his voluntary manslaughter conviction. Bedoni will be on supervised release for three years following his prison sentence.
Bedoni was arrested on Feb. 10, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting a woman resulting in serious bodily injury on Jan. 31, 2016, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, Bedoni caused the victim to suffer a fractured neck, spinal cord trauma, bruising to her chest and arms, and the victim was unable to move her arms or legs.
Bedoni was subsequently indicted on March 8, 2016, and charged with second degree murder of the victim in San Juan County.
On July 21, 2016, Bedoni entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter. In entering the guilty plea, Bedoni admitted that on the night of January 31, 2016, he pushed the victim down some steps causing her to sustain broken vertebrae and spinal cord trauma. Bedoni acknowledged that the victim died from complications of those injuries on February 20, 2016.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Adams and Nicholas Marshall prosecuted the case as part of 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.