Published August 2, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE – Tom Begaye Jr. the 28-year-old man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing an 11-year-old girl on the Navajo Nation last year, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, August 1, in a federal court in Albuquerque.
He changed his plea from not guilty at a scheduled hearing.
As part of his plea, Begaye admitted to abducting Ashlynne Mike and her 9-year-old brother in May 2016 on the Navajo Nation. Begaye offered the children a ride home, then raped and killed Ashlynne.
After the plea, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye issured the following statement:
“The Navajo Nation mourned when we learned of the vicious murder of Ashlynne Mike. The Nation has carried this pain ever since. Today, as we learn that her murderer has pleaded guilty to the six charges against him, we have taken one-step forward in healing. We know the pain will be lifelong for Ashlynne’s parents and immediate family.
The Navajo Nation is taking every step necessary to strengthen our laws and emergency response communication system. We are furthering the implementation of an Amber Alert System to protect our children from horrendous crimes such as this one. This tragedy reminds us, as Navajo people, that we must adhere to our traditional teachings of K’é and Hozho in respecting each other. We ask our people to continue to love their children, take care of them, and watch them closely. The Navajo Nation will continue to move forward in protecting our children so that no other life is taken in such a tragic manner.”
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