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Seumptewa Arraigned

Vaughn Seumptewa, right, sits in Coconino County Superior Court during his arraignment on aggravated assault charges stemming from the death of his girlfriend Nicole Joe.

A Flagstaff man has had charges of aggravated assault against him dismissed and replaced with new charges of second-degree murder.

Vaughn C. Seumptewa was indicted by a grand jury on charges of aggravated assault in January for the Christmas Day death of Nicole Joe. Seumptewa was in a relationship with Joe when he allegedly beat her and then left her outside in the cold for several hours. She was eventually brought back into the apartment by housemates and left on the floor for 16 hours before being pronounced dead.

On May 2, the Coconino County Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the assault charges without prejudice.   Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch granted the motion, thus allowing the County Attorney’s Office to file for new charges of second-degree murder-extreme indifference against Seumptewa.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes, second degree murder is defined as intentionally causing the death of another person or, under circumstances of extreme indifference, recklessly engaging in conduct that results in a grave risk of death and causes the death of another person. It’s a Class 1 felony that can be punished with 10 to 25 years in prison.

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The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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