Tillman Begaye
Tillman Begaye (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man has been convicted on three counts of second-degree murder in Albuquerque federal court for killing three people in a drunken driving incident on the Navajo Nation last year.

Tillman Naskia Begaye, 33, was found guilty on May 16 of killing a Navajo woman and two of her adult children on July 14.

Begaye was driving under the influence of alcohol on U.S. Highway 491 near Sheep Springs when he caused the two-vehicle crash, according to an FBI press release.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico, said Thursday that a date for Begaye's sentencing hearing has not been set.

Begaye will face three possible life sentences for his role in the crash.

Begaye was arrested on July 22 and indicted on the three counts of second-degree murder on Aug. 7.

His trial started May 12 and lasted five days.

A Daily Times story from July 24 said Begaye was driving a Dodge pickup truck northbound in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 491 when he crashed into a sedan near mile marker 50.

Begaye was intoxicated at the time of the crash, police said, and his blood alcohol content was 0.18 when his blood was drawn at San Juan Regional Medical Center following the crash.

According to the press release, Begaye has two prior DWI convictions. He was convicted of driving under the influence in the state of Colorado in October 2012 and on an aggravated driving while intoxicated charge in Farmington in January 2001.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.