For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2022
Contact: Jerri Mares – (505) 321-4372
FARMINGTON — Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and Eleventh Judicial District Attorney Rick Tedrow announced that Jerry Jay will stand trial on a first-degree murder charge for the murder of Cecelia Finona, among other felony counts. Finona, a 59-year-old Army veteran of Navajo descent, was last seen in May 2019. Finona’s remains were located in Nevada in February 2021. If convicted, Jay could face a mandatory life sentence.
“My office will hold accountable those that commit violence against Indigenous People, and we will continue to tackle this issue with every tool available to ensure justice for Cecelia, her family, and all families affected by violent crime,” said Attorney General Balderas.
“I would like to thank ADA Terry Walker and all my staff for their hard work on this case,” said District Attorney Tedrow. “I am also thankful to Attorney General Balderas for spearheading the MMIW coalition to address much needed work and attention to these cases.”
As part of a broader coalition to address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), Attorney General Balderas has partnered with law enforcement and with District Attorney Tedrow to ensure cases involving indigenous victims are effectively investigated and prosecuted. This coalition is part of the broader effort to combat violence against Indigenous People as a result of the passage of the MMIW Task Force Bill (SB12) earlier this year.
This case was part of a complex multi-year, multi-agency, and multi-jurisdictional collaborative investigation spearheaded by the Farmington Police Department with cooperation from the Sparks Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Las Vegas Police Metropolitan Department. This case is being prosecuted by a team from the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General and the Eleventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutors are Assistant Attorneys General Mark Probasco and Jesse Pecoraro and Assistant District Attorneys Theresa Walker and Ian Jump. Jay is presumed innocent until proven guilty.