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Press Release

Shiprock Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Assault Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and John Billison, Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety announced that Tina Benally, 38, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a federal assault charge.

Benally was indicted on Feb. 27, 2013, and charged with (1) assault resulting in serious bodily injury and (2) child abuse.  Benally was arrested on March 6, 2013, and has been in federal custody since that time.

During today’s proceedings, Benally pled guilty to the assault charge and admitting that on March 2, 2012, after drinking alcohol, she drove her vehicle at excessive speeds and crashed into a semi-truck.  There were two passengers, including a minor child, in Benally’s vehicle at the time of the collision and the adult passenger suffered multiple fractures that required surgery.

Benally remains in federal custody until her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Benally faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

This case was investigated by the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Novaline D. Wilson.

Updated January 26, 2015