Fire claims life of CCSD teacher

SHIPROCK, Dec. 12, 2013

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A Central Consolidated teacher died early Tuesday when his duplex caught on fire.

Scott Schwarting, 51, was an athletic director and teacher at the Tse Bit'a'i Middle School since 2000. He had been with the district, teaching at Shiprock and Newcomb high school going back to 1992.

San Juan County fire crews were called to Schwarting's duplex in front of Mesa Elementary School about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

His body was found in the living quarters, which is also where fire officials believe the fire was started.

So far no explanation has been released as to how the fire started but a press release issued later that day by the San Juan County Sheriff's office said there was no indication of foul play at the scene.

James Preminger, a spokesman for the school district, said the building connected to the one Schwarting was living in also received some fire damage but it was nowhere near as extensive as the damage done to Schwarting's.

He said he wasn't sure how old the buildings in the teacherage were but looking at them, it seemed as if they had been recently renovated.

As usual in cases where a teacher died, students who knew Schwarting -either in the middle school or at Shiprock High School, were offered an opportunity to get counseling.


Two plead guilty of federal assault

GALLUP -- Two Thoreau men, have entered guilty pleas to federal assault charges in federal district court in Albuquerque under plea agreements with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Aldo Jones, 30, entered his guilty plea on last Wednesday and his brother Eddie Jones, Jr., III, 23, entered his guilty plea last Thursday.

Aldo and Eddie Jones were arrested in early August 2013, based on a criminal complaint charging them with assault charges arising out of an attack on a 21-year-old Navajo man in Crownpoint, N.M. on July 28.

According to court filings, the two men assaulted the victim for failing to pay a $50 debt.

Aldo Jones repeatedly stabbed the victim in the head, upper back and right hand with a screwdriver, and both he and Eddie Jones pummeled the victim with their fists.

The victim sustained a life-threatening injury to his head where his skull was punctured.

He also sustained stab wounds to his upper back and right hand and a broken nose.

Aldo and Eddie Jones subsequently were charged in a four-count indictment with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon arising from the assault on the 21-year-old victim.

On Tuesday Aldo Jones pled guilty to two assault charges.

He admitted assaulting the first victim at approximately 5 p.m. by stabbing him with a screwdriver.

He also admitted stabbing the second victim with a knife approximately two hours later when the second victim confronted him about stabbing his cousin, the first victim.

At sentencing, Aldo Jones faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each assault charge.

He remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

During last week's proceedings, Eddie Jones entered a guilty plea to assaulting the first victim.

In his plea agreement, Eddie Jones admitted beating the victim who also was stabbed by Aldo Jones.

At sentencing, Eddie Jones faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each assault charge.

He remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Gallup man charged with 10th DWI

GALLUP - Harvey Tom, 44, of Gallup was charged with his 10th DWI on Tuesday by the Gallup Police Department.

Tom has received at least four DWI charges since 1996 in the New Mexico court system and another six within the Navajo Nation court system.

When he was stopped by a Gallup police officer on State Highway 602 about 8 p.m., he admitted to the officer that he was drinking and driving and then refused to take the field sobriety test.

He was quoted as saying "I'm already drunk. I'm telling you. I don't need to look like a fool out here."

Firefighter still missing

GALLUP -- Gallup police said Thursday that they are still looking for a Navajo man who was a former fire fighter who went missing on Sept. 2.

Craig Harrison, 27, reportedly was last seen leaving his home after getting into an argument with his girlfriend.

Gallup Police Captain Rick White said police do not suspect any foul play. Instead, they believe that Harrison just does not want to return home.

All police want, White said, is for Harrison to give them a call and tell them that he is OK so they can pass that information back to his mother. They will not try and make him go home, he added.

Harrison should contact White by calling 505-722-2002.

Diné employee steals from Mescalero

WINDOW ROCK - Iris Peterson, 65, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation residing in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Las Cruces to theft from an Indian tribal organization.

Peterson entered a guilty plea to a felony information and admitted embezzling $8,695 in funds belonging to the Mescalero Apache Nation between Jan.

2007 and Dec. 2011. During that time, Peterson was a supervisory social worker employed by the BIA Mescalero Social Services Program.

Peterson admitted cashing checks intended for juvenile clients who were receiving services from the Social Services Program and using the funds for her personal use.

Peterson entered her guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement that requires her to pay restitution in the amount of $8,695.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the United States will not oppose a sentence of probation if Peterson is ordered to pay restitution.Peterson was released under pretrial supervision pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

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