Man accused of fatal stabbing appears in court

Noel Lyn Smith
Larry June, right, leaves a hearing where he was charged with murder on Wednesday at Farmington Municipal Court.

FARMINGTON – A Shiprock man accused of fatally stabbing his wife made an initial appearance today in federal court.

Larry June, 57, was charged Tuesday in the death of his wife during an incident on Nov. 25 in Sheep Springs.

June, who was arrested Tuesday, appeared in Farmington Municipal Court this morning. During the hearing, he listened to Federal Magistrate Judge Paul Briones read the charges of murder and committing a criminal offense in Indian Country.

Briones accepted a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Nayback, who spoke during a conference call, to keep June in custody.

The judge also scheduled a detention hearing and preliminary hearing for Friday in federal court in Albuquerque.

On Tuesday, the criminal complaint and affidavit were filed in U.S. District Court of New Mexico. The affidavit states Navajo Nation police officers and emergency medical services responded to a report of a stabbing the evening of Nov. 25 in Sheep Springs.

They came into contact with a 53-year-old female identified in the affidavit as Jane Doe, who was unresponsive and bleeding from several wounds, and began life-saving measures but their efforts were unsuccessful.

Larry June

The victim's name is not listed in the written statement but sources with knowledge of the case confirmed that the victim was June's wife, Lucy June.

A subsequent investigation determined Lucy June was transported from the scene of the stabbing by three concerned citizens to an area near the intersection of U.S. Highway 491 and New Mexico Highway 134.

Interviews done during the investigation revealed she had been seen selling food with her husband from a trailer set up at a traditional Navajo ceremony held east of U.S. Highway 491.

Multiple witnesses told a tribal criminal investigator they heard an argument from inside the trailer and at least two witnesses looked into a window and saw a man standing above Lucy June.

They also heard June identify her husband as the man who stabbed her, according to the affidavit.

Witnesses also told authorities the man in the trailer was observed leaving the scene.

Navajo police officers located Larry June on Nov. 26 at a house in Shiprock, where he was subsequently taken into custody.

At the time of his arrest, June was wearing sweatpants stained with a red substance similar in appearance to blood, the affidavit states.

In an interview on Monday, June told law enforcement officials he was the husband of "Jane Doe" and they were selling food from his wife's trailer at the ceremony.

He said they started to argue and his wife yelled at him several times, causing him to feel embarrassed, according to the affidavit.

June added his wife poked him with a lighter and he responded by pushing her then they fell and he punched her three times.

According to the affidavit, June's wife grabbed a knife from the table with her right hand, swung it toward June but missed him and stabbed herself once in her right side.

June heard a woman ask about the situation and he left the trailer, the affidavit states.

Members of June's family attended the hearing today but declined to comment.

In a telephone interview after the hearing, Laralyn June, June's daughter, said the situation is hard for both families but they are praying each day to heal.

She said her family understands because of the court process, they are unable to see June but "he is loved and we are with him."

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.