Farmington man arrested for murder following stabbing incident Wednesday

Court documents show suspect's warrant is still active

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Raheem Benally
  • Raheem Benally is accused of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence.
  • Georgette Allen, Farmington Police Department spokesperson, declined comment on the case.
  • Benally has two pending cases in Aztec District Court.

Note: This story was updated at 9:33 p.m.

FARMINGTON — A Farmington man was arrested tonight and accused of fatally stabbing a man Wednesday evening near a Farmington restaurant.

Raheem Benally, 24, is accused of second-degree murder and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence, according to court records.

Benally is accused of killing Philbert Vanwinkle Wednesday evening and tampering with evidence, including a knife allegedly used in the murder, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

In a press release tonight, Farmington Police Department spokesperson Georgette Allen said detectives "obtained an extradition warrant approved by the Navajo Nation. Farmington police took Benally into custody without incident around 7:00 this evening. He was transported to the San Juan County Detention Center where he was booked on the warrant. aid detectives."

FPD thanked the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Nation prosecutors for their help.

 More:Farmington police investigating homicide

Fight ensued on roadway

Farmington Police Department officers were dispatched around 6:18 p.m. to the area of Brothers Avenue and East 20th Street on reports of a deceased male in the roadway with visible stab wounds to his torso. 

Officers spoke to two witnesses at the scene, who both observed a male lying in the road just east of the Pizza Hut restaurant at 2710 E. 20th St.

One of the witnesses told police he was driving on East 20th Street when he observed two males who appeared to be fighting in the roadway.

The witness later returned to the area and found Vanwinkle in the roadway. The victim was not breathing and the witness observed heavy blood loss, according to court documents.

Farmington police reviewed video surveillance footage from the Pizza Hut.

A male later identified as Benally was observed walking at a fast pace northbound on Brothers Avenue in video footage after Vanwinkle was observed walking slowly then falling to the ground.

Witnesses interviewed

Two people of interest were interviewed at the Farmington Police Department.

    More:Farmington police seek man in early morning stabbing

During the interview, they stated Benally and Vanwinkle were intoxicated before the alleged incident and were fighting, according to court documents.

A sergeant followed a blood trail from the area of the crime scene to a residence in the 2600 block of East 23rd Street.

A female at the residence stated Benally was a relative and he showed up to the residence earlier while bleeding from a hand.

Another relative of Benally's arrived at the residence, stating she took Benally to the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock to seek treatment for a laceration on his hand.

A search warrant was executed at the residence and a knife was not located, according to court documents.

Two Farmington detectives traveled to the hospital and met with officers of the Navajo Police Department and hospital security to make contact with Benally Wednesday evening.

    More:Farmington police blotter for Dec. 9

Benally had his arms restrained and his mouth covered after he allegedly tried to bite and spit at a nurse, according to court documents.

His clothing, which had red stains consistent with blood, were taken as evidence.

A nurse told a detective they would need to sedate Benally to treat his injury.

Benally has two pending cases in Aztec District Court for charges including aggravated battery and battery upon a peace officer, according to court records.

He allegedly stabbed a man on Aug. 20 during an argument at Brookhaven Park East at 721 W. Apache St., according to The Daily Times archives.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at