Man accused of fatally stabbing wife indicted by Hennepin County grand jury

A man accused of stabbing his wife to death is now facing enhanced charges after being indicted by a Hennepin County grand jury.

James Nyonteh, 46, of Champlin, was initially facing a second-degree murder charge for the killing of 35-year-old Peachu Yates. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced Tuesday that her office intended to seek an aggravated, longer sentence than called for by typical sentencing guidelines.

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A release from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office states, “Aggravated sentencing is necessary because the victim in this case was treated with particular cruelty and was left in the front yard of a relative’s home where she had been living with her children and extended family, many of whom were inside the home at the time.”

Court documents state that Champlin police first responded to the home after getting reports of a person down. Officers then found Yates lying in the front yard, unresponsive and bleeding from apparent cuts.

Yates was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A girl was also next to Yates at the scene, screaming, “he killed her.” One witness told police she’d been on the phone with Yates as Yates arrived at the home. At some point, Yates told the witness that Nyonteh had a knife, and he could be heard in the background saying he just wanted to talk, the complaint states. The call then disconnected.

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Nyonteh was later arrested in Fargo, North Dakota.

The criminal complaint states that Yates and her children had moved out of the family’s home and were staying with another family as Nyonteh was being investigated for criminal sexual conduct.

Moriarty was quoted in Tuesday’s release, saying “Intimate partner violence is a pervasive crisis in our communities that requires a strong multifaceted response, including aggressive prosecution of those who inflict devastation on families and our community. This is a horrific case and we will seek the maximum sentence possible.”

Nyonteh is currently in custody at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center with bail set at $2 million.

His jury trial is set to begin on the morning of Monday, March 27.