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Man gets one year in prison for violating bail conditions

Court cites history of probation revocation

A man with ties to the Durango homeless community who threatened a woman with a knife in 2020 was sentenced Friday to one year in prison for violating bail conditions.

Vernon Begay, 33, was previously arrested in 2017 in Montezuma County for leaving a man critically injured in a fight and again in 2019 on suspicion of attempted murder.

Then in September 2020, police responded to a call from Schneider Park where Begay had allegedly threatened a woman with a knife, according to an arrest affidavit.

Eugenia Frank told officers she was at the park with her brother, Donovan Cayaditto, when Begay, who she dated for about two weeks and had been broken up with for about two weeks, allegedly approached them while gripping a knife “in a threatening manner.”

Begay supposedly punched Frank in the face twice before running away.

Standing before 6th Judicial District Judge Todd Norvell on Friday, Begay told the court that he prefers probation over prison time.

He said has been taking classes, although he didn’t elaborate, and that he wants to focus on getting a job and being there for his two teenage daughters. He said with the help of Navajo Nation stimulus checks, he thinks he can afford a place to live.

Counseling and other forms of support would be better for Begay than prison followed by parole, his defense lawyer said.

Norvell said he hopes Begay continues to move forward in a positive way, but with Begay’s criminal history and previous revocations of probation, the judge was not convinced Begay would be successful on probation.

“This is a relatively short prison sentence,” Norvell said. “You’ll be out soon and I think that is the best resolution for this case.”

The judge said Begay must pay costs, fees and restitution. Begay also agreed to pay $209.49 for “costs of prosecution related to transport costs,” according to his plea agreement.

Begay was credited with 131 days of presentence confinement. His sentence is to run at the same time as another sentence he received in Southern Ute Tribal Court, Norvell said.


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