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New Mexico man convicted of killing girl loses appeal bid

August 4, 2020 GMT

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man serving a life sentence for kidnapping and killing an 11-year-old girl in 2016 had his appeal dismissed after a judge ruled that he failed to file his motion in time.

Tom Begaye Jr. was sentenced in 2017 to life in prison with no possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse, the Farmington Daily Times reported on Monday.

Begaye admitted sexually abusing 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike and kidnapping her nine-year-old brother Ian Mike on May 2, 2016, authorities have said. Ashlynne Mike’s body was found the next day.

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Begaye in his requests after he was convicted asked for the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser offense and a reduced prison sentence, according to court documents.

He claimed in his handwritten motions mailed from a midwestern penitentiary that he did not know his rights when he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, that he did not understand the law and that his federal public defender was incompetent.

The judge ruled Begaye made his requests too late and did not provide reasons why he thought his lawyer was ineffective.

The judge said the motions should have been filed by October 2018 but were sent in June 2019.