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Man airlifted to hospital after Cortez assault

Man severely beaten; suspect is jailed

A man is in critical condition Wednesday after a fight Monday night in Cortez.

Police responded to a report of an assault in the 100 block of North Washington Street about 8:45 p.m. Julivan Denetdeal, a 31-year-old Montezuma County resident, was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Grand Junction with severe “facial and head injuries,” according to Police Chief Roy Lane.

Vernon Begay, 28, of Cortez, was arrested in connection with the assault. Wednesday morning, Denetdeal was in critical condition.

Begay is under investigation for Class 4 felony assault, prosecuting attorney Sheena Goldsborough said Wednesday in Montezuma County Court. Judge JenniLynn Lawrence set his bond at $50,000 cash or surety.

“I don’t think that’s inappropriate when a life hangs in the balance,” Lawrence said.

Goldsborough asked for a high bond. She said Begay had just been released on Monday from jail on another case.

“As far as I can tell, it was an argument between the two, and a fight occurred,” he said.

Denetdeal’s mother was emotional as she asked Judge Lawrence for a high bond. She said she didn’t know if her son would live – he had been in surgery all day Wednesday, and had been on life support.

Begay’s next court appearance will be April 19 at 2 p.m. for filing of charges.

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