Murder suspect appears in federal court in Farmington

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Tavor Tom

FARMINGTON — An 18-year-old man charged in connection to a murder in Shiprock made his first appearance in federal court in Farmington on July 5.

Tavor Tom was charged on July 3 in the death of a woman whose body was found on July 2 in a residence in Shiprock, according to the FBI.

Tom was escorted by personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service when he entered the courtroom for the 10:30 a.m. hearing.

He was wearing an orange shirt and orange pants from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center and both his hands and ankles were cuffed.

During the 15-minute hearing, Federal Magistrate Judge B. Paul Briones read the charge listed in the criminal complaint to Tom.

Tom was arrested on July 3 after an arrest warrant was filed based on the criminal complaint filed the same day, Briones said.

Tom looked at Briones occasionally and answered questions when asked, including that he understood the charge and his legal rights.

Briones accepted a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Nayback, who spoke during a conference call, to keep Tom in custody due to him being considered a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Before leaving the courtroom, Tom looked toward a group of people sitting in the gallery.

Tom has a detention hearing and preliminary hearing for July 6 in federal court in Albuquerque.

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