News and Press Releases

Jicarilla Apache Man Pleads Guilty
to Federal Assault Charges

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal Initiative to Address
the Epidemic Incidence of Violence Against Native Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Robert Yazzie, Jr., 48, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation who resides in Dulce, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a federal assault charge arising out of a violent attack on his intimate partner. 

Yazzie was arrested on May 27, 2014, on an indictment charging him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The indictment alleged that Yazzie assaulted the victim on May 17, 2013, and caused her to suffer serious bodily injury. 

During today’s proceedings, Yazzie pled guilty to the indictment and admitted assaulting his intimate partner by hitting her in the face and head multiple times with a closed fist.  Yazzie acknowledged that as a result, the victim sustained bilateral nasal bone fractures and hematomas to the head and face.  The assault occurred within the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

Yazzie has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Yazzie faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Jicarilla Apache Tribe Police Department and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Adams.

The case was brought pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was largely driven by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

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