ALBUQUERQUE—Stanford Benally, 41, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Beclabito, New Mexico, made his initial appearance in Albuquerque federal court on a two-count indictment charging him with (1) second-degree murder, and (2) involuntary manslaughter. Benally, who was arrested yesterday by the FBI, remains in custody pending a detention hearing and arraignment on September 13, 2012.
Count one of the indictment, the second-degree murder charge, alleges that on May 19, 2012, Benally caused the death of a minor female by serving her liquor and failing to provide care and seek medical attention for the minor in a manner that evinced a callous and wanton disregard for human life. Count two, the involuntary manslaughter charge, alleges that, on that same date, Benally deposited the unconscious and intoxicated minor on her bedroom floor without providing care and seeking medical assistance in a manner that was grossly negligent and with a wanton and reckless disregard for human life. According to the indictment, the offenses occurred in Indian Country in San Juan County, New Mexico.
If convicted of the murder charge, Benally faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. If convicted of the involuntary manslaughter charge, he faces a maximum penalty of eight years of imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI, with assistance from the Shiprock Division of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack E. Burkhead.