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Viejas Band debates banishing three members

Three members of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians face banishment from the tribe over their alleged participation in a violent attack on the reservation.

Tamara Banegas, 27; Michael LaChappa, 27; and Tina Hood, 28, are accused of breaking into the home of another tribal member and assaulting him this past July. Larry Sutton, the nephew of the Viejas chairman, is still recovering from the incident.

The tribe plans a court hearing to consider the punishment for the three people. The tribe is already withholding $10,000 a month per cap payments to pay for Sutton's medical bills.

The hearing will be the first major test of the court system, which the tribe has been setting up for the past year. Banegas and LaChappa don't believe they will get a fair trial and they insist they are being persecuted for political reasons.

Banegas is facing charges in county court for the attack. Two non-Indians who live on the reservation are also charged.

Get the Story:
3 could face banishment by fledgling Viejas court (The San Diego Union-Tribune 9/16)

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