Defendant's son also charged in shooting incident

By Cindy Yurth and Cassandra Raye Chee
Navajo Times

FLAGSTAFF, July 7, 2011

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A federal judge ruled Wednesday that there is sufficient evidence to try Tyson Bigman on a federal felony assault charge.

Bigman, the 21-year-old son of Victor Bigman, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Navajo Nation Police Sgt. Darrell Curley, faces a charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

A preliminary hearing for Tyson Bigman was held yesterday, July 6, in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff. A detention hearing, which was originally to be held in conjunction with the preliminary hearing, was postponed until Friday, July 8.

Navajo Nation Criminal Investigator Anthony Dan testified that Tyson Bigman tussled with Navajo Nation Police Officer Vernon Begay as Begay was trying to arrest him, causing Begay a potentially serious wrist injury.

Begay and Curley had been called to the Bigman residence in Kaibeto, Ariz., to break up a fight between Tyson Bigman and his brother, Johnson Bigman, 25.

Defense attorney Adam Zickerman repeatedly asked Dan about the extent of Begay's injury. At issue was whether it could be described as "serious," which could make a difference in the degree of the charge.

Dan replied that he is not a medical specialist and could not comment on how serious the injury is. However, Begay reportedly is on medical leave and taking pain-killing drugs.

Tribal charges against Tyson Bigman have been dropped, confirmed Navajo Nation courts spokeswoman Karen Francis, presumably to expedite the federal charge.

A tribal prosecutor also dropped charges against Johnson Bigman, who was reportedly passed out when officers arrived at the Bigman residence June 25, responding to a complaint of a fight between the two brothers.

Their father Victor, 48, was still hospitalized in Flagstaff at press time and had not yet been arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder. Victor Bigman is accused of firing the shots that later killed Curley. He is also suffering from gunshot wounds allegedly inflicted by Curley after he was shot.

Curley, 48, died at Page Hospital on June 26.

Tyson Bigman is an active-duty Marine stationed in Jacksonville, N.C., confirmed 2nd Lt. David David, public affairs officer for the 2nd Marine Division. David said he did not know what effect a federal conviction would have on Bigman's military career.

Of the three Bigmans, only Johnson Bigman has prior criminal convictions listed on the Arizona court system's public access Web page. The elder brother has appeared on at least 10 charges in various northwestern Arizona courts between 2004 and this March, including driving under the influence, aggravated DUI, driving on a suspended license, failing to comply with a court order, underage drinking (before he turned 21) and littering.

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