Four Navajo men have pleaded not guilty to charges they face in connection with the slayings of two tribal police officers. A grand jury handed up a four-count indictment against the four Thursday, and they entered their pleas Friday.
Thomas Cly and Marques Atene, both 22; Vinton Bedonie, 31; and Ben Atene Jr., 24, were indicted on charges of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm and aiding and abetting, U.S. Attorney Brent Ward said.The four were indicted in connection with the deaths of Navajo police officers Andy Begay and Roy Lee Stanley, Ward said. Their bodies were found Dec. 5 in the burned wreckage of a police vehicle near Monument Valley, Utah.
All four were denied bail and are being held at the Salt Lake County Jail, except for Marques Atene who is being held at the Federal Community Treatment Center, U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce ruled.
In denying bail, Boyce said the four were a "danger to the community."
In a preliminary hearing earlier last week, special Federal Bureau of Investigation agent James Downey testified a witness said Bedonie shot the officers at a drinking party in the Navajo Indian community of Monument Valley.
The four drove the officers' vehicles, with the officers in the back of one, 13 miles until one vehicle became stuck in wet mud, a witness told Downey.
Cly then doused the officers, who were apparently still alive, and the two police vehicles with gasoline and set a match to the trucks, which "went up with a woosh," Downey said, quoting from the witness' statement.