Navajo Man from Farmington Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – Thomas J. Yazzie, Jr., 52, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Farmington, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Yazzie was arrested on Feb. 7, 2017, on an indictment charging him with involuntary manslaughter. According to the indictment, Yazzie killed the victim with his vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M., on May 10, 2016.
During today’s proceedings, Yazzie pled guilty to the indictment and admitted killing the victim by driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. Yazzie acknowledged that the alcohol rendered him incapable of exercising clear judgment and a steady hand in operating the vehicle.
At sentencing, Yazzie faces a maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI, the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and the New Mexico State Police and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Murphy.