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Serial Domestic Abuser Convicted in 2019 Slaying of His Girlfriend, a Navajo Nursing Assistant
“Vindicating the rights of missing and murdered indigenous persons requires all the energy and compassion we have,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said.
An Arizona man with a history of domestic violence has been convicted in the high-profile murder of his girlfriend, whom he fatally shot more than four years ago.
Tre C. James, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2019 killing of his girlfriend Jamie Lynette Yazzie, federal prosecutors announced on September 28. The jury for the U.S. District Court in Phoenix also convicted James on six domestic violence-related charges in cases involving three other women between 2018 and 2021.
Who was Jamie Lynette Yazzie?
Yazzie, a nursing assistant and Navajo Nation member, vanished on June 30, 2019 from Pinon, Arizona — roughly 125 miles northeast of Flagstaff. She was reported missing after failing to show up at work. In 2021, her partial skeletal remains were found southwest of Pinon on the Hopi Indian Reservation. Officials said she’d been killed by a gunshot wound to her head.
James was charged in his former girlfriend’s death in 2022. At the time, prosecutors contended that James shot and killed Yazzie following a dispute about infidelity, according to a criminal complaint previously reviewed by Oxygen.com. The couple had reportedly both been seeing different people prior to Yazzie’s murder.
Yazzie’s blood, suspected cleaning products, a firearm, a stained and partially torched mattress, as well as spent shell casings, were later found by detectives at the couple’s Pinon home.
Tre C. James Had a History of Abuse
Relatives for both families corroborated the couple’s volatile — and sometimes violent — relationship. James’ family described the Arizona man as being “abusive” and “aggressive” towards Yazzie, per the case’s complaint. Hours before Yazzie’s killing, James’ sister also disclosed to investigators that Yazzie had sent her a message on Facebook accusing James of firing his pistol twice while chasing his girlfriend around their property.
James’ trial, which was attended by Yazzie’s family and friends, spanned a total of seven days.
“Vindicating the rights of missing and murdered indigenous persons requires all the energy and compassion we have,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in a prepared statement. “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.”
The murder of Yazzie, a Navajo woman, garnered national headlines at the time of her death and shone a light on the murdered and missing Indigenous women crisis. Nearly two years after Yazzie’s disappearance, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation designating May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day.
As of 2022, there were more than 192 Native American men and women verified as missing across New Mexico and Navajo Nation, according to the FBI.
Oxygen.com has reached out to Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren's office for comment following James’ conviction.
James is set to be sentenced on January 29, 2024. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.