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NM man convict of impersonating officer, assault

August 16, 2013 • State News

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man was convicted Wednesday of impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting a woman stemming from a bizarre episode in rural San Juan County.

A jury found Eric Kenneth guilty of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal sexual contact with a deadly weapon and impersonating a police officer, the Farmington Daily Times reported (http://bit.ly/140uNjo ).

According to authorities, the 31-year-old Shiprock resident pulled over a Texas woman in San Juan County. Deputies say he was driving a truck with headlights on it, started flashing them at the victim and made a fake drunken driving stop.

The victim, passing through the county, stopped driving because she thought Kenneth was a police officer, said San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dave Hamlin in a prepared statement.

When the woman stepped out of her vehicle, he searched her. Then he pulled out a knife and put it to the woman’s throat, according to investigators. Police said Kenneth tried to rape the woman and she was able to talk him into a lesser sex act.

“The female victim kept her composure throughout the entire incident,” Hamlin said. “At one point, she even asked the suspect if she could take his photograph and did so. The photographs were one of the ways we were able to identify him so quickly.”

Kenneth sobbed after the verdict was read and hugged family members until sheriff’s office deputies took him away to jail. He also told his family to “take care of my boys.” Sentencing has not been scheduled.

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