Unsealed records shed light on Hogback murder

Dennison Hale charged with murder in wife's death

Steve Garrison
Dennison Hale

HOGBACK — Dennison Hale, the 42-year-old Tohatchi man charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, is accused of killing his wife at their residence in Hogback, according to unsealed court records.

A Navajo police investigator was dispatched at 7:38 a.m. Saturday to a turquoise-colored house near Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Hogback after receiving reports that a Navajo woman was unconscious within the residence, according to a criminal complaint.

The woman was transported by helicopter to San Juan Regional Medical Center and treated for a laceration on her forehead, the complaint states. She was pronounced dead shortly before 8 a.m.

The home of Dennison Hale, as seen Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 off U.S. Highway 64 near mile marker 28.

The family had gone to a dance on the night of Feb. 19, the woman's two adult sons told investigators, and returned to the hogan at 3 a.m. Saturday. The sons said their mother left the hogan during the early morning hours, and Hale followed her, the complaint states.

They heard their mother scream and when they exited the hogan, they saw Hale running south toward U.S. Highway 64. The woman was laying within the turquoise house next to a square-nosed shovel stained with blood, the complaint states.

A few days before the woman's death, Hale said, "I'm gonna kill her. No one else could have her," one of the sons told investigators.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said U.S. Department of Justice policy prohibits him from identifying the victim, but a Kayleen Marks Hale, 41, died on Saturday, according to an obituary in The Daily Times. A neighbor confirmed Thursday that Kayleen Hale lived on a property near the casino with her husband, Dennison Hale.

The neighbor declined to provide her name or discuss the woman's death.

Several stray dogs wandered around that property Thursday, but no one was inside the turquoise-colored house or a nearby hogan. A smashed television blocked the entrance to the house and a broken tricycle, old electronic equipment and other trash littered the yard.

Kayleen Hale is survived by seven children — Denny, Christopher, Kenny, Christina, Christine, Deana and Krystal Hale. A funeral was held for her Thursday in Shiprock.

The home of Dennison Hale, as seen Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 off U.S. Highway 64 near mile marker 28.

Kayleen Hale's children could not be reached for comment.

Dennison Hale made an initial appearance Wednesday in federal court. He is being held without bond pending a detention hearing and preliminary examination hearing scheduled to take place Feb. 26 in Albuquerque.

His attorney, Aric Elsenheimer, did not respond to a request for comment.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.