Man pleads in death of woman on Navajo reservation

Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) February 2011

A man faces 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a 71-year-old Navajo woman on the reservation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico says 51-year-old Patrick Baptiste admitted killing Kathleen Francisco last May 24.

A criminal complaint says she and Baptiste were running errands in her pickup truck when he became upset at someone else, and hit Francisco so hard he knocked out her dentures and broke her glasses.

Baptiste admitted driving to three different residences after that with Francisco in the passenger’s seat, struggling to breathe.

Authorities say instead of calling 911, Baptiste then went to Whiskey Lake, pulled Francisco from the truck and punched and kicked her.

He then drove away, leaving her.

Relatives found her body the next day.