Jason Yazzie, 31, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fruitland, N.M., was sentenced today to 270 months (22.5 years) in federal prison for his voluntary manslaughter and assault conviction.
Yazzie will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. Yazzie was arrested on Aug. 6, 2013, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he killed a two-year-old Navajo child on Aug. 2, 2013, in a location within the Navajo Indian Reservation. On April 28, 2014, Yazzie entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with voluntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury charges.
In his plea agreement, Yazzie admitted that on Aug. 2, 2013, he became extremely frustrated with the child, who had been left in his care, and repeatedly struck the child about the torso, causing the child to sustain severe chest and abdominal injuries. Yazzie also admitted that he threw the child approximately five feet in the air and across the room, causing the child to sustain severe head and neck trauma. Yazzie admitted that he acted in frustration and in the heat of passion and that his actions caused the child's death.
This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Shiprock office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito.