Police seek information on pedestrian fatality

June 27, 2013

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C HINLE – The Chinle Police and Criminal Investigation are conducting an investigation of a motor vehicle and pedestrian fatality on June 8 on Navajo Route 59 at milepost 12 at 12:58 a.m., according to a news release from the Chinle Police Department.

A caller reported a Native American male was lying on the road with massive head injuries. The male was lying on the north side shoulder of the road. There was a passerby who was directing traffic upon the arrival of the police officer and there were no other vehicles around.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Derek Benally with the Chinle Police Department at 928-674-2111/2112 or the Chinle Criminal Investigation office at 928-674-2000.

Man may get only 7 years for death of motorcyclist

GALLUP - The prosecution of a man for the death of a beloved Navajo motorcyclist took a strange turn on Monday.

Larrieston Charlie was supposed to go on trial on Monday in the vehicular death of Johnathan Yazzie, which occurred Dec. 1, 2012 near the Interstate 40 interchange on the east end of Gallup.

Yazzie, along with a number of other Navajo motorcyclists, had participated in Gallup's annual Christmas parade and Yazzie was on his way back to his home in Church Rock, N.M. when he got into an accident caused by Charlie, 32.

Charlie, who was intoxicated at the time according to blood drawn at a local hospital, was charged with vehicular homicide.

The case proceeded through the court system and in April, discussions began between Steve Seeger, Charlie's attorney, and John Patterson, the assistant district attorney who was handling the prosecution.

On April 24, according to court documents, a plea agreement was reached in which Charlie agreed to plead guilty to one count of vehicular homicide. The prosecution agreed that he would be sentenced to 14 years in jail and that the crime would not be considered a serious violent offense.

This meant that Charlie would only have to serve 50 percent of the sentence instead of 85 percent if it was considered to be a violent offense.

But in the middle of June, McKinley County District Attorney Karl Gillson told the court that Patterson did not have the authority to make that plea agreement and accused Seeger of taking advantage of Paterson.

Gillson said he was still doing research on the defendant's background.

As a result, Charlie was back on the trial schedule for Monday but on Friday District Court Judge Louis DePauli Jr. agreed to continue the trial to an unspecified date so that the two parties could either try to reach an understanding or prepare for a trial.

Police identify body dumped in Tempe

TEMPE, AZ - Police have arrested a man for the murder of a woman whose naked body was found in a Tempe street earlier this month, according to news reports.

According to Tempe police spokesman Michael Pooley, detectives arrested 27-year-old Douglas Ray George for the death of 23-year-old Annovedwin Begay-Barakzai.

A passerby found the victim dead around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 on Minton Drive near McClintock Drive and Baseline Road.

The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

During the investigation, it was reportedly revealed that George drove Begay-Barakzai to Minton Drive after killing her at another location. He then placed her body in a dark area of the neighborhood, Pooley said.

"The investigation was made even more complicated due to the fact that she had no identification and was left unclothed," Pooley said.

With the public's help, police were later able to identify Begay-Barakzai. Pooley said George and Begay-Barakzai lived together near Baseline and Rural roads.

George was also arrested earlier this month for domestic violence on the victim, Pooley said.

Detectives determined that George was linked to the homicide and is being booked into Tempe City Jail on the charge of 2nd degree murder.

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