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Navajo Teen Girl Receives FBI Director’s Certificate in New Mexico

FBI Albuquerque August 17, 2011
  • Public Affairs Specialist Frank Fisher (505) 889-1438

FARMINGTON, NM—A 16-year-old Navajo girl received an FBI Director’s Certificate on Tuesday, August 16, 2011, for her heroic actions in defending her mother from an attacker last year.

Ashley Nez was given the certificate by Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Michael Harrigan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Burkhead at the Farmington Resident Agency as her grandmother, Larue Clah, looked on.

The teenager repeatedly hit William Belin Jr. with a baseball bat after he shot and assaulted Cassandra Nez in the family’s home in Shiprock in the early morning hours of July 7, 2010.

Ashley Nez then called 911. Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety officers arrived and found Belin and the victim both covered with blood.

A federal jury in Santa Fe convicted Belin, 58, on June 22, 2011, of assault with intent to commit murder; assault with a dangerous weapon; assault resulting in serious bodily injury; and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

At sentencing, Belin, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment on the assault convictions. On the firearm conviction, Belin faces a minimum 10-year term of imprisonment to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on the assault convictions.

Cassandra Nez, who was shot in the shoulder, recovered from her injuries.

“My dad always taught me to protect my family, so I did what I had to do,” Ashley Nez told reporters who covered the ceremony.

Ashley Nez