Judge dismisses appeal filed by Ashlynne Mike's killer for reduced sentence
- U.S. District Judge William Johnson dismissed Tom Begaye Jr's appeal on July 28 with prejudice
- Begaye admitted to sexually abusing and killing 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike and kidnapping her 9-year-old brother in 2016
FARMINGTON — The man who is serving a life sentence in prison for kidnapping and killing 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike in 2016 had his appeal of his prison sentence dismissed after he failed to file a timely motion.
Chief United States District Judge William Johnson in New Mexico federal court dismissed Tom Begaye Jr's appeal on July 28 with prejudice, meaning this case has been dismissed permanently.
Begaye was sentenced on Oct. 20, 2017, to life in prison without possibility of release after pleading guilty on Aug. 1, 2017, to six charges including murder, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual abuse.
He admitted to sexually abusing and killing Ashlynne Mike and kidnapping her nine-year-old brother Ian Mike on May 2, 2016. Her body was found on May 3, 2016, near the Shiprock pinnacle.
Begaye's motion was filed in New Mexico federal court on June 24, 2019.
He handwrote his motion and mailed it from the federal penitentiary in the Midwest where he is being held.
Begaye submitted the motion pro se, filing the court documents without legal representation.
He requested an evidentiary hearing along with an opportunity to plead guilty to a "lesser included offense" and a reduced prison sentence, according to court documents.
Begaye's motion has several claims, including he didn't know his rights when he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, that he did not understand law and the charges he faced due to his low IQ and that he did not have a competent federal public defender, according to The Daily Times archives.
The United States' response argued that Begaye's claims didn't have merit since he did not file his motion within one year of the amended judgement filed on Oct. 31, 2017.
The response also argued that Begaye did not state why his public defender was ineffective and that he was adequately represented by legal counsel during the plea hearing.
United States Magistrate Judge Gregory Fouratt on July 6 filed his proposed findings and recommendations on the appeal.
Judge Fouratt only addressed the one-year limitation period imposed by law to file an appeal. He wrote that Begaye's motion was not filed until nearly eight months after the deadline.
None of the parties involved in the appeal filed objections to Judge Fouratt's proposed findings and the findings were adopted by the court on July 28.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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