Begaye indicted in murder of Ashlynne Mike
The first five counts of the indictment against Tom Begaye Jr. carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison
FARMINGTON — Tom Begaye Jr. has been indicted by a grand jury on six criminal charges in the slaying of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike and the kidnapping of 9-year-old Ian Mike, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
Begaye, 27, was arrested May 4 on a criminal complaint charging him with kidnapping and murder after Ashlynne Mike's body was found in the desert, six miles south of the Shiprock pinnacle.
Begaye allegedly told federal and tribal investigators he kidnapped Ashlynne Mike and her brother from near their home in Lower Fruitland and drove them to the pinnacle, where he sexually molested Ashlynne Mike and then bludgeoned her to death with a tire iron, according to the complaint.
Begaye said he released Ian Mike, who was found by a motorist walking alongside Navajo Route 13 several hours after his kidnapping, the complaint states.
The indictment, which was made public this afternoon, charges Begaye with first-degree murder, felony murder, kidnapping resulting in death, two counts of aggravated sexual abuse resulting in death and kidnapping of a minor.
The first five counts of the indictment carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. Kidnapping of a minor is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.
Begaye will be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. June 7. He is being held without bond, pending trial.
Begaye's court-appointed attorney, James C. Loonam, could not be reached for comment.
Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.