Thursday, September 27, 2012

Federal Jury Convicts Ramah Navajo Man of Voluntary Manslaughter

ALBUQUERQUE—Yesterday evening, a federal jury convicted Dhanzasikam R. Toledo, 21, an enrolled member of the Ramah Navajo Chapter of the Navajo Nation, of voluntary manslaughter after a three-day trial, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales.

Toledo was arrested in November 21, 2011, on a criminal complaint alleging that he murdered his uncle Arvin Toledo, 44, also a member of the Ramah Navajo Chapter, on November 10, 2011, in Ramah, New Mexico, which is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Toledo was indicted on a second-degree murder charge on December 13, 2011.

The case proceeded to trial on September 24, 2012, where the evidence established that Toledo stabbed Arvin Toledo to death on November 10, 2011, during an argument. The argument began over a $100 debt owed by Toledo to Arvin Toledo but escalated to include personal verbal attacks about Toledo and his family. According to the testimony, Toledo stabbed Arvin Toledo after he started making racially derogatory slurs about Toledo, who is of Indian and African-American descent.

The jury deliberated approximately seven hours before returning a verdict of not guilty on the second-degree murder charge and a verdict of guilty on the lesser included charge of voluntary manslaughter.

At sentencing, Toledo faces a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment. Toledo is in federal custody, and he remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI and the Ramah Navajo Nation Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Niki Tapia-Brito and Presiliano Torrez.

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