Paonia man faces February sentencing
 for killing wife

A Paonia man who was found guilty by a jury Tuesday in the slaying of his estranged wife faces between 16 and 42 years in prison.

Sentencing for Nathan Yager, 39, is Feb. 15 in Delta County Court.

Yager was found guilty of second-degree murder as an act of domestic violence in the Jan. 7, 2011, slaying of his estranged wife, 34-year-old Melinda Tackett Yager.

According to an arrest affidavit in the case, Nathan Yager told his mother on the phone that he killed his wife. Melinda Yager’s body was found with stab wounds to the neck near railroad tracks by the couple’s former home.

Nathan Yager turned himself in to police a few hours later. Though he refused to be interviewed by police, officers noted scratch marks on Nathan’s Yager’s face and blood on his clothing, the affidavit said.

Nathan Yager and Melinda Yager were mired in a bitter custody battle over their daughter and their former home at the time of the slaying. The morning before she was killed, the couple had been in court and a restraining order was imposed.

Each had lobbed several complaints about the other over child custody issues and harassment during their divorce proceedings, the affidavit said.

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