FARMINGTON — A Gallup man pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to assaulting his girlfriend at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair.
Derek Yabeny, 26, will be sentenced to 25 months in prison as a condition of his plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico announced Tuesday.
On October 7, Yabeny slapped and punched his girlfriend in the face and choked her in the back of a vehicle at the fair. The victim, who was not identified in court documents, was holding her seven-month daughter during the attack, according to the criminal complaint against Yabeny.
The vehicle was parked on the Shiprock Fair grounds and the victim was helping her mother set up a food stand when she heard her infant crying. She was attacked while she was checking on the baby.
The victim's left eye was swollen shut and she had a bloody nose and lip. The woman was a juvenile at the time of the assault. She was born in 1994, according to court documents.
She was taken to the Northern Navajo Medical Center where she was treated for two orbital fractures, according to court documents. The baby was not harmed.
Yabeny was charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and child abuse. He pled guilty to the assault charge and the child abuse was dropped as a condition of his plea agreement.
Yabeny has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 26 and he will remain in custody until his sentencing hearing, according to court documents
The case was prosecuted as part of program with the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women. The program aims to ensure violent crimes against Native women are prosecuted in tribal or federal court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.