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Press Release

Pinon Man Found Guilty of Murder of Missing Navajo Woman

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Yesterday, a jury found Tre C. James, 31, of Pinon, Arizona, guilty of the First Degree Murder of Jamie Yazzie. The jury also found James guilty of several acts of domestic violence committed against three former intimate and dating partners. The guilty verdict followed a seven-day jury trial before the Honorable Douglas L. Rayes. Sentencing is set for January 29, 2024. James faces a mandatory life sentence for his crimes.

James was charged with nine federal crimes. Counts 1 and 2 alleged that James shot and killed Jamie Yazzie, a Pinon woman who went missing in the summer of 2019, and whose remains were found on the Hopi Indian Reservation in November 2021. Ms. Yazzie was listed as a missing person by both Federal and Tribal law enforcement. The investigation into Ms. Yazzie’s disappearance was headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but multiple agencies provided invaluable assistance at all stages, including the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Services, Navajo Nation Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs (Hopi), and Navajo County Sherriff’s Office. 

While investigating Ms. Yazzie’s disappearance, law enforcement uncovered several acts of domestic violence that James committed against other women. The jury unanimously found James guilty of these domestic violence counts as well, Counts 3 through 9. 

“Vindicating the rights of missing and murdered indigenous persons requires all the energy and compassion we have,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino.“That means not only investigation and prosecution of tough cases, but also community engagement, cultural competence,  and active listening to next of kin and other family members.”

FBI Special Agent Dustin Drace led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer E. LaGrange and Sharon K. Sexton, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution. Ms. Yazzie’s family, including her mother, father, grandmother, and other relatives and friends attended all seven days of trial, and want to express gratitude to their attorney, Darlene Gomez, for doing the same. 

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act recognizes the importance of private lawyers in amplifying victims’ rights, and the Federal Crime Victim Assistance Fund is available to pay travel and lodging costs and per diem for next of kin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is committed to addressing the persistent violence endured by Native American families and communities in the state of Arizona, including by working with Tribal nations to address the important issues of missing or murdered indigenous persons, and acts of domestic violence. This office and the Department of Justice view this work as a priority for its law enforcement components.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-22-08073-PCT-DLR
RELEASE NUMBER:    2023-139_James

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Public Affairs
Zachry Stoebe
Telephone: (602) 514-7413

Updated September 28, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 2023-139_James