TONALEA, Ariz. — An Arizona man is awaiting trial on allegations of
beating his mother to death and setting fire to her house on the Navajo Nation.
Lakin Jim Bennett has pleaded not guilty to arson and second-degree murder in
the death of Mae Bedonie in early March.
He is scheduled to go to trial on the federal charges in June.
A Navajo police officer responding to a 911 call encountered Bennett after
picking up his cousin near Tonalea. The cousin had reported that Bennett
assaulted her and that another woman might be dead.
According to a criminal complaint, Bennett told the officer that he fatally
beat his mother for “talking too much” and “burned the house down.”
A medical examiner concluded that Bedonie died as a result of physical