ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Latest on the sentencing of a man charged in the killing of a Navajo Nation girl (all times local):

4 p.m.

Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye says he told prosecutors that the tribe would have supported the death penalty for the killer of an 11-year-old girl.

Tom Begaye was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole as part of a plea deal in the 2016 rape and murder of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike. Russell and Tom Begaye are not related.

The tribal leader told The Associated Press he told prosecutors the tribe would have supported the death penalty.

Tribes for decades including the Navajo Nation have almost always rejected that option.

Begaye says his tribe should consider backing the death penalty in killings of children and police officers.


2:45 p.m.

A defense lawyer for a man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing an 11-year-old Navajo girl has said at his client’s sentencing hearing that his client is intellectually disabled and was regularly beaten as a child.

Lawyer James Loonam said Friday that Tom Begaye did not offer that information as an excuse for Begaye’s actions but as insight.

Begaye did not speak during Friday’s hearing.

As part of a plea agreement, Begaye sentenced to life in prison for the 2016 death of Ashlynne Mike.

Relatives and friends of the girl cried in the courtroom as her parents testified.


2:15 p.m.

A man who pleaded guilty to the murder and sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl on the largest American Indian reservation has been sentenced to life in prison.

Tom Begaye was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the May 2016 killing of Ashlynne Mike on the Navajo Nation.

The killing prompted calls to expand the Amber Alert system and the death penalty to U.S. tribal communities.

Authorities say Begaye lured Mike and her brother into his van before killing the girl and allowing the boy to escape. Ashlynne was reported missing, but an Amber Alert didn’t go out until the next day.

Her body was later found in an area near the Arizona-New Mexico border.

Begaye pleaded guilty in August. Under the plea agreement, Begaye faced a mandatory life sentence without parole.


1 a.m.

A man who pleaded guilty to the murder and sexual assault in the death of an 11-year-old girl on the largest American Indian reservation is set to be sentenced.

Tom Begaye is scheduled Friday to receive life in prison for the May 2016 killing on the Navajo Nation that prompted calls to expand the Amber Alert system and the death penalty to U.S. tribal communities.

Authorities say Begaye lured Ashlynne Mike and her brother into his van before killing the girl and allowing the boy to escape. Ashlynne was reported missing, but an Amber Alert didn’t go out until the next day.

Her body was later found in an area near the Arizona-New Mexico border.

The Navajo Nation, like many Native American tribes, opposes the death penalty.

Begaye pleaded guilty in August.