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Father gets life plus 85 years for slaying four children

March 10, 1997

PHOENIX (AP) _ A man who struck back at his cheating wife by shooting their four daughters to death at their home on the Navajo reservation was sentenced Monday to life in prison without hope of parole.

Norman Dean Yazzie, 33, was convicted in December of murder and other charges for firing at least 35 shots from a rifle at his daughters, ages 5 to 15, and his son while they watched ``All Dogs Go to Heaven″ on television.

The boy, 11-year-old Rhyan, survived to testify against his father, saying he played dead after being shot in the shoulder and the chest.

The jury rejected an insanity defense. Yazzie’s lawyer had argued that his client was insane because of his wife’s infidelity and an impending separation.

U.S. District Judge Earl Carroll sentenced Yazzie to life plus 85 years.

Rhyan said that before the shooting, a car had stopped near their home and his father thought the driver was a man who was having an affair with Yazzie’s wife, Cecilia. Yazzie also wrote a note to his wife expressing outrage over her affair.

Cecilia Yazzie was visiting relatives in New Mexico when the children were gunned down.

The girls were shot repeatedly in the head.

``He stepped over me and shot me again,″ Yazzie’s son testified.

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