Pinon Man Found Guilty of Murder of Missing Navajo Woman

This week, a jury found Tre C. James, 31, of Pinon, Arizona, guilty of the First Degree Murder of Jamie Yazzie.

Tre C James

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.

Jamie Yazzie

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.