Shiprock man sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder of aunt he stabbed 75 times

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of his aunt at her home in 2019.

Tavor Tom, 20, was sentenced during an April 7 hearing in Albuquerque federal court, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

The release states Tom pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Nov. 24, 2020.

His aunt, who was not identified in court documents, was found deceased on July 2, 2019, inside her home in Shiprock.

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In an interview with an FBI special agent on July 3, 2019, Tom confessed to killing his aunt by stabbing her multiple times. Court documents state she was stabbed 75 times throughout her body and died of blood loss.

He subsequently stole her vehicle, drove to Farmington and shoplifted over-the-counter cold medicine before crashing the vehicle in Nenahnezad.

His mother told investigators in 2019 that Tom was addicted to Mucinex, a cold and flu medicine, and frequently used the product to get high.

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Tavor Tom

Tom's substance abuse was mentioned in court documents, including the sentencing memorandum filed Feb. 11 by his defense attorney.

The memorandum states the psychologist who evaluated Tom found he started abusing over-the-counter cold medicine at age 14 and his addiction affected his abilities to reason and to control behavior.

The sentencing memorandum submitted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque described Tom and his aunt as having "a generally amicable relationship" but a prison sentence for 17-and-a-half years was recommended because of the nature and circumstances of the crime.

Tom confessed to the murder again in the plea agreement filed Nov. 24, 2020 in federal court.

Family members of the victim attended the sentencing hearing on video conferencing, and one family member addressed the court, according to sentencing documents.

Tom will have three years of supervised release after completing his prison term. It was recommended that he complete 500 hours in a substance abuse program.

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

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