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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Fort Towson Resident Of Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Oklahoma

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Thomas Raymond Phillips, III, age 36, of Fort Towson, Oklahoma, was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of First Degree Murder in Indian Country, one count of Use, Carry, Brandish, and Discharge of a Firearm During and In Relation to a Crime of Violence, and one count of Causing the Death of a Person in the Course of a Violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

The jury trial began with testimony on October 23, 2023, and concluded on October 25, 2023, with the guilty verdicts.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that on the evening of December 19, 2020, Phillips fired multiple shots into a Fort Towson bar after being ejected by management for instigating a fight.  One bullet struck a patron, killing the victim on the scene.  The crime occurred in Choctaw County, within the boundaries of the Choctaw Nation Reservation, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Choctaw County Sheriff’s Office, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Honorable John F. Heil, U.S. District in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, presided over the trial in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and ordered the completion of a presentence report.  The sentencing will be scheduled following completion of the report.  The defendant will remain in custody of the United States Marshal until sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Dean Burris and Cameron McEwen represented the United States.

Updated November 9, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime