Eric Kenneth
Eric Kenneth (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

AZTEC — A Shiprock man was convicted Wednesday of impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting a woman.

On Wednesday morning, a jury found Eric Kenneth, a 31-year-old Shiprock man, guilty of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal sexual contact with a deadly weapon and impersonating a police officer

In October 2011, Kenneth pulled over a Texas woman who was passing through San Juan County. He was driving a truck with headlights on it and started flashing them at the victim, who stopped driving because she thought Kenneth was a police officer, said San Juan County Sheriff's Office Lt. Dave Hamlin in a prepared statement.

Investigators said Kenneth told the woman he was an officer and said that he was going to check to make sure she wasn't drinking and driving.

When the woman stepped out of her vehicle, he searched her. Then he pulled out a knife and put it to the woman's throat, according to investigators.

Police said Kenneth tried to rape the woman and she was able to talk him into a lesser sex act.

"The female victim kept her composure throughout the entire incident," Hamlin said. "At one point, she even asked the suspect if she could take his photograph and did so. The photographs were one of the ways we were able to identify him so quickly."

Kenneth sobbed after the verdict was read and hugged family members until sheriff's office deputies took him away to jail to await his sentencing hearing, which hasn't been scheduled.

Kenneth told his family to "take care of my boys."

Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.