Mariano Villegas, 30, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2003 stabbing death of Julius Yazzie of Winslow. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he was sentenced to 10 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections, with credit for 772 days served, to be followed by a term of community supervision equal to one day for every seven days served. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $15,000. He was sentenced by visiting Judge Robert Van Wyck of Phoenix.
According to court documents, Villegas had just been released from prison after completing a sentence for theft when he stabbed Yazzie. Some witnesses in the case testified that Villegas and Yazzie were involved in a confrontation over a female, while other witnesses claimed that Villegas attacked Yazzie without provocation.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Police reports indicate that following the stabbing, Villegas fled to the Phoenix area. When officers located and attempted to arrest him, the driver of the vehicle in which he was a passenger led officers on a high-speed chase. The driver of the vehicle was ultimately shot and killed, and Villegas was taken into custody to be tried in Navajo County.