Man receives probation in nonfatal Farmington shooting

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Mario Silas was sentenced Monday to four and a half years of supervised probation in the shooting of a 27-year-old Farmington man in March 2014.

Silas, 25, was arraigned in April on charges of attempted first-degree murder, shooting at a motor vehicle, evidence tampering and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on accusations he shot Christopher Benally in the leg on March 19 outside Silas' residence at 1175 Hines Road, trailer 6.

Benally was attempting to leave Silas' residence in a vehicle at the time of the shooting, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Silas told detectives he feared for he and his family's safety when he shot Benally, but also admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana earlier in the day.

Silas pleaded guilty June 22 to aggravated assault and evidence tampering in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said his office lost contact with Benally shortly after charges were filed against Silas and, as a result, it would be difficult to convict Silas at trial.

"Without the victim there to show 'great bodily harm,' it would be difficult to prove," he said.

O'Brien said that if Silas successfully completes the terms of his supervised probation, the offenses will be discharged, or removed, from his criminal record.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.