Outcry For Death Penalty Collides With Navajo Nation Beliefs

Sep 12, 2016

Mourners participate May 4 in a candlelight vigil for Ashlynne Mike in Lower Fruitland. The 11-year-old girl was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered on the Navajo Nation, and her mother since has ignited a debate about capital punishment on the state’s largest reservation.

The Navajo Nation's opposition to capital punishment is in the spotlight following recent outcry for New Mexico to reinstate it in cases of child killings.

The mother of an 11-year-old Navajo girl abducted and killed in Shiprock has started an online petition demanding the tribe allow the death penalty.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Pamela Foster says opposing the death penalty allows for horrendous acts of violence against the tribe's children to continue. The petition has nearly 400 signatures.

Authorities say a Navajo man lured Ashlynne Mike into his van May 2, and her body was found the next day.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye says he supports the Major Crimes Act, which allows tribes to accept or reject a death sentence in prosecutions under federal jurisdiction.