New Mexico man sentenced for fatally beating friend with tree branch
04/14/2023 12:36 pm PDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (TCD) -- A 51-year-old man has entered into a plea deal and will spend six years in prison for fatally beating his 30-year-old friend with a tree branch.
According to a press release from the Albuquerque Police Department, in November 2021, Keith Bird told officials he traveled from Santa Domingo Pueblo to Albuquerque to drink with some friends near 2950 Central Ave. SE. Bird then got into an argument and beat another man, later identified by the Albuquerque Journal as Elias Foster, with a tree branch in an alley west of Girard Boulevard Southeast.
A witness told police Bird and Foster were fighting over a backpack before the fatal beating. The witness reportedly yelled at the suspect to stop, but Bird ran off with the backpack.
Bird told officials Foster "was in a bad mood and began to pick a fight," the Albuquerque Journal reports. Following the beating, Bird told police he didn’t know whether or not the victim needed medical treatment.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Bird hit Foster at least 10 times in the face, and the victim died at the scene. At the sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Jolanna Macias said, "If you were to see that tree branch and what Mr. Foster looked like afterwards, I mean, it was just horrific."
Bird initially faced a first-degree murder charge, but in February of this year, Bird entered into a plea deal on charges of involuntary manslaughter, KRQE-TV reports. On Thursday, April 13, a judge sentenced Bird to six years in prison.
The victim’s sister, Arias Foster, addressed Bird at the sentencing and said, "Not only was he your friend, he was a member of the indigenous community."
She continued, "There is an epidemic of missing and murdered Native Americans in New Mexico and nationally. You should be teaching our young men how to live a positive life — sharing your tribal knowledge instead of taking a life that was from this already vulnerable community."
- Man sentenced to 6 years for fatally beating ‘friend’ with a tree branch — Albuquerque Journal
- Albuquerque man sentenced for killing friend with a tree branch — KRQE
- Homicide Suspect Arrested, 11/30/2021 — Albuquerque Police Department
- New Mexico man allegedly beats another man to death using tree branch, 12/1/2021 — TCD
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