Man arrested in Hogback woman's murder

Steve Garrison
Dennison Hale

FARMINGTON – A 42-year-old Tohatchi man made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court on allegations he murdered a Navajo woman Saturday at her residence in Hogback, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Dennison Hale is accused of striking the woman in the head at the Hogback residence on Friday and fleeing the scene, the release states. The woman was transported by helicopter to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Hale was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of murder. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, scheduled to take place Feb. 26 in Albuquerque, the release states.

Hale faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Murphy is prosecuting the case.