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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Kayenta Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Involuntary Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault Related to Drunk Driving

     PHOENIX – Yesterday, James Robertson Young, 29, of Kayenta, Ariz., and a member of the Navajo Nation, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan to 240 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Young had previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.


     The case involved Young driving his vehicle with a BAC level of between .171 and .20, causing a head-on collision with another vehicle carrying four minor children (aged 8, 9, 10, and 14) and their grandparents.  The victims, all of whom are members of the Navajo Nation, had been traveling to the Grand Canyon to vacation and sell hand-made Navajo jewelry.  The collision killed five of the family members and seriously injured the sixth (the 14-year-old girl).  At sentencing, the surviving victim spoke about the physical and emotional injuries she had sustained as a result of the incident, other family members spoke about the deceased grandparents’ many contributions to their community, and the mother of the deceased children talked about her children, their short lives, and how much they will be missed.  Before imposing sentence, Judge Logan told the defendant: “It is now 12:07.  The boys that you killed should be at school and in lunch hour, wondering if they are going to get chocolate milk or pizza in their lunches.  That’s what they should be thinking right now, but you took all of that away from them when you drove drunk and killed them.”


     The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navajo Nation Department of Law Enforcement, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  The prosecution was handled by Sharon K. Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona.


CASE NUMBER:            CR-17-8132-PCT-SPL

RELEASE NUMBER:    2018-008_Young


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Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
2018-008_Young / CR-17-8132-PCT-SPL
Updated January 30, 2018