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Principal Says FBI Considering Jurisdiction in Case

November 13, 1996

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) _ A high school principal says the FBI is debating whether to get involved in the case of an 18-year-old football player accused of tackling a referee who ejected him from a game.

The teen, Gilbert Jefferson, was arraigned Tuesday before McKinley County magistrate Karl Gillson, who set the bond at $1,000 for the Wingate High School linebacker and running back.

Jefferson faces charges of battery on a school employee or aggravated battery on a school employee. A spokeswoman in Gillson’s office said a preliminary hearing might be scheduled for Nov. 21.

If convicted of the felony charge, Jefferson could face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Jefferson is accused of tackling referee Allen Bainter during the football game between Wingate and Crownpoint last Friday.

Bainter was struck after he ejected Jefferson from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. Witnesses said Jefferson ran onto the field, tackled Bainter from behind and was arrested on the spot.

Wingate High School principal Adam Bull said Tuesday the FBI might get involved because the school is a Navajo boarding school operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

``We’re a federal school on federal land,″ Bull said. ``There is a good deal of discussion on who should have custody of the young man.″

Bull said he talked to an FBI agent in Gallup about the jurisdiction question, but that no decision was reached.

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