N.M. man sentenced for kidnapping, killing Army vet girlfriend whose remains were found in desert
02/17/2023 12:07 pm PST
FARMINGTON, N.M. (TCD) -- A 61-year-old man will spend more than three decades in prison for kidnapping and killing his 59-year-old Army veteran girlfriend of Navajo descent in 2019.
In May 2019, Jerry Jay struck Cecilia Finona in the head with what investigators believe was an ax, according to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Afterward, he reportedly placed her in the back seat of her own truck while she was still alive and drove from New Mexico to a remote desert culvert outside Las Vegas, where he later dumped her body.
Finona bled to death during the drive, and she was reported missing by her family.
Jay was arrested and convicted of unlawful use of the victim’s debit card after he used Finona’s card to purchase truck tires and gas before he flew back to New Mexico.
While in jail, Jay reportedly told a fellow inmate that he killed Finona and also killed a previous girlfriend but "learned how to do it better this time."
According to the Attorney’s Office, "These statements, along with video evidence, financial records, and extensive forensic evidence connected Jay" to Finona’s slaying.
Finona’s body was located Feb. 23, 2021, nearly two years after her death.
Jay pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder in September 2022. On Thursday, Feb. 16, the Attorney General’s Office announced Jay was sentenced to 33 years in prison.
New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez said, "Jerry Jay is the complete opposite of what Cecilia was. Cecilia was a loving mother, generous neighbor, and a celebrated veteran, qualities that would be appreciated in any community."
Torrez continued, "Jerry Jay took a bright light from the world in 2019, and for that he received the sentence that he deserves. I thank our prosecution team along with the San Juan County prosecutors for their dedication to this case and to Cecilia."
According to CBS News, Finona retired as an Army master sergeant in 2019 after serving for more than three decades.
- Jerry Jay Sentenced to 33 Years in Prison for the Murder of U.S. Army Veteran Cecilia Finona — New Mexico Attorney General’s Office
- New Mexico man sentenced in murder of Army veteran girlfriend whose remains were found 2 years later in Nevada desert — CBS News
- N.M. man pleads guilty to kidnapping and killing his Army vet girlfriend who bled to death in truck, 9/9/2022 — TCD
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