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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

San Felipe Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Intimate Partner

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael V. Tenorio, 23, a member and resident of San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting his intimate partner.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Tenorio will be sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Tenorio was arrested on Nov. 18, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting an intimate partner by strangulation and assault with a dangerous weapon.  According to the complaint, on Nov. 7, 2014, BIA agents responded to call reporting an assault occurring on San Felipe Pueblo in Sandoval County, N.M.  The complaint alleged that Tenorio assaulted the victim, a non-Indian woman, by threatening her with a rifle and choking her.  Tenorio was subsequently indicted on Dec. 16, 2014, and charged with assault of an intimate partner by strangulation and assault with a dangerous weapon.

During today’s proceedings, Tenorio pled guilty to assault of an intimate partner by strangulation.  In entering his guilty plea, Tenorio admitted that on Nov. 7, 2014, he choked the victim by wrapping his hands around her neck and squeezing, causing her breathing to be affected by the pressure.

This case was investigated by the Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez.

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.

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Updated May 12, 2015