Woman sentenced in beating, rape

A Montezuma Creek woman who pleaded guilty to instigating a sexual assault by her son and boyfriend was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison Tuesday.

Cynthia Bitsuie Jones, 41, beat the victim, then held her down and yelled for the two men to assault her in December 2009, according to court documents. The attack came after Jones was offended by something the woman said during a night of drinking at a remote oil well near the Navajo reservation town.

Calling the attack a “terrible, brutal crime,” U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Jones to 140 months during a hearing Tuesday.

Jones’ defense attorney argued that her client “snapped” after years of abuse, including a sexual assault at age 15, domestic violence on her first wedding day and being run over with her car by her ex-husband.

“She did not just get here overnight. It’s basically been her whole life of witnessing violence and having violence afflicted on her,” said Kristen Angelos.

But the victim, who was left in a remote area without clothing or car keys, will suffer a limp and other effects of the beating and sexual assault for the rest of her life, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Trina Higgins. She survived after finding her clothes, using a utility tool to start her car and driving herself to the hospital.

“The mental anguish done by these people, [leaving] her to die, she’ll never recover from,” Higgins said.

Stewart pointed out that the crime Jones instigated also sent three other people to prison. Her son, 21-year-old Michael Whitehorse, pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in October. Her 43-year-old boyfriend, Johnson Joe, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse and was sentenced to more than nine years.

Jones’ daughter, a juvenile, also participated in the beating and was incarcerated, attorneys said during the sentencing hearing.

Jones pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual abuse, which carried a potential penalty of up to life in prison.

Stewart also imposed a lifetime of supervised release after her sentence and Jones agreed to pay $873 in retribution.



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