Friday, February 10, 2012

Vanderwagen, NM: Man Faces Federal Charges in Tribal Ax Murder

MacArthur Cooke, 36, a Navajo man from Pinedale, N.M., is in jail after being charged in federal court Thursday with murdering his girlfriend with an ax.

Cooke, who has been in tribal custody on Navajo Nation charges for the last month, was arrested by the FBI and charged with killing Vivian Watson, a 29-year-old Navajo woman, on Jan. 13 in Vanderwagen, N.M.

He is scheduled for a detention and preliminary hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Scott.

According to the criminal complaint, Cooke allegedly killed his girlfriend of two years with an axe in her home.

The New Mexico Office of Medical Investigator gives the cause of death as multiple, heavy, sharp force/chop wounds to the head.

The criminal complaint states the defendant’s father, who discovered the body, went to Watson’s home after his son drove her van to Pinedale intoxicated and crying earlier that evening and allegedly told his father he thought he’d hit his girlfriend with an ax.

Cooke told the FBI agent who interviewed him the following day that he didn’t remember hitting Watson, but that they must have fought because of what happened.

Cooke faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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