Bryan Benally

Bryan Benally

BISBEE — A man accused of repeatedly stabbing his co-worker pleaded not guilty on Monday and his trial date has been set.

Bryan Benally of Tonolea, a small town in Coconino County, has been charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault, investigators with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office said recently.

Benally was arrested on Jan. 5 after investigators said he stabbed 18-year-old John Shaver several times. The pair had been building a fence for a rancher near the Chiricahua National Monument and decided to set up camp inside the national park so they would not have to drive to the worksite the following day, sheriff's officials said.

It's not clear what sparked the attack, but CCSO spokeswoman Carol Capas said Shaver showed up at the door of an older couple camping in the Chiricahuas in their recreational vehicle. The couple, Thomas and Barb Lewis of California, told investigators that they were in their camper when someone banged on their door at about 3 a.m. They saw Shaver outside covered in blood.

When sheriff’s deputies and a Department of Public Safety trooper arrived, Shaver told them he had been attacked by Benally. Capas said deputies, the Sheriff’s Ranch Patrol, a Sheriff’s Search and Rescue sergeant, and a Department of Public Safety chopper searched for Benally and found him about four hours later in a remote area of the national monument.

Shaver was airlifted to a Tucson hospital. Benally meanwhile, remains in custody at the Cochise County Jail. His trial has been scheduled for June 8.