Law | National

First man going on trial over branding of Navajo Nation man

The first of three men accused of branding a Navajo Nation with a swastika goes on trial today in Farmington, New Mexico.

William Hatch, 29, is charged with first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping, third-degree felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and fourth-degree felony conspiracy to commit aggravated battery.

Along with two other men, Hatch allegedly kidnapped Vincent Kee, branded a swastika on his arm, shaved a swastika into the back of his head and wrote White Power" and anti-Indian remarks on his body.

Separately, Hatch is charged in federal court for hate crimes. He is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and is part Navajo, his attorney said.

"The Farmington police and law enforcement in general are using this case to vindicate the white community with our local Native Americans, and they are doing it, in this case, on the back of a Native American," Eric Morrow told The Farmington Daily Times.

The paper said a verdict could come as early as Friday.

Get the Story:
Nazi branding lands in court (The Farmington Daily Times 5/4)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Navajo man files lawsuit against McDonald's (2/21)
Navajo Nation man who was branded with swastika sues McDonald's (2/4)
Branding of Navajo man is first case under new hate crimes law (12/10)
Hate crime charges another scar in border town's shaky history (11/30)
Federal hate crimes charges for attack on disabled Navajo man (11/15)
Federal charges likely in case over branding of Navajo Nation man (7/20)
Letter: Navajo Nation commission clings to victim mentality (6/11)
Officers didn't believe man who was branded with swastika (6/3)
Officials condemn swastika branding incident in New Mexico (5/19)
Panel calls special meeting over swastika branding incident (5/18)
Police probe officer's response to swastika-branding incident (5/14)
Men in court over swastika-branding incident in New Mexico (5/11)
Men accused of branding swastika on Navajo Nation victim (5/10)

Join the Conversation