Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, May 26

Documents: New Mexico man shot infant, sought to kill mom

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man has admitted he was the one who accidentally shot an infant girl, not her 3-year-old brother, and then tried to arrange the killing of the baby’s mother and a key witness, new court documents allege.

Tyrell Bitsilly told authorities he fired the weapon that left the baby partially blind and deaf, according to court document released last week, the Gallup Independent reports.

Bitsilly, 21, and the baby’s mother, Shayanne Nelson, had told police the girl’s 3-year-old brother found a gun left in a Gallup, New Mexico, motel room and accidentally fired.

The child abuse case took an unexpected turn last week when Gallup police served Bitsilly a warrant on suspicion he was seeking to arrange the killing of Nelson and a retired military medic who helped save the infant girl’s life.

“Tyrell Bitsilly believed that Shayanne Nelson was going to testify against him because she knew what really happened that night,” Gallup Detective Chavo Chischilly wrote in the arrest warrant. “Tyrell Bitsilly also knew that he would end up in prison for 18 years or more.”

In June, Nelson, now 19, pleaded guilty to child abuse and agreed to testify against Bitsilly, her boyfriend, as part of her plea agreement.

Chischilly wrote Bitsilly also wanted the paramedic, Casey Franchot, killed because Franchot witnessed him wiping off fingerprints from the gun with a rag. Bitsilly is now charged with criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder and bribery of a witness.

Chischilly reported that FBI Agent Ken Fetcher contacted him Aug. 27 because he received information that Bitsilly wanted to find someone to kill Nelson and Franchot.

Public defender Alec Orenstein said he needed more time to talk to Bitsilly about the new allegations.

“It’s complicated enough that we need to get this case assigned to someone to take care of all these matters before making a recommendation,” Orenstein said. “We’re severely short staffed and don’t have the resources to handle this case right now.”

Bitsilly remains in custody. A jury trial in the child abuse case is scheduled for Dec. 10.

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