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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Okemah Resident Of Murder In Indian Country

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 today that Elijah Dewayne Hicks, age 22, of Okemah, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of Murder in Indian Country; Use, Carry, Brandish, and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; and Causing the Death of a Person in the Course of a Violation of Title 18 United States Code § 924(c).

The jury trial began with testimony on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, and concluded on Thursday, February 17, 2022, with a verdict of guilty on all three criminal counts. Based on the jury’s verdicts, the defendant could potentially receive up to life imprisonment.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that on August 7, 2021, the defendant intentionally killed his cousin, Timothy Ray Buckley, by shooting him four times, and then fled before law enforcement could arrive, resulting in a four-month long manhunt by the FBI.  The incident occurred in Okemah, Oklahoma.

The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Muscogee (Creek) Lighthorse Police, and the Okemah Police Department.

“I am thankful for the cooperative efforts of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting the defendant,” said United States Attorney Christopher Wilson. “Prosecuting violent crime in Indian Country, like the ruthless act of the defendant in this case, remains the priority of the United States Attorney’s Office, and I am proud of the tireless efforts and excellent work of our attorneys, victim assistants, witness coordinators, and support staff each day.”

"The FBI is tasked with investigating the most heinous crimes in Indian Country, including murder. We are committed to not only investigating these crimes but to holding violent offenders like Mr. Hicks accountable for their actions,” said Edward J. Gray, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office. “We will continue working with our partners to obtain justice for the victims and to protect the communities we serve in Eastern Oklahoma.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma prosecuted the case because the defendant is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe and the crimes occurred in Okfuskee County, within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The Honorable Bernard M. Jones, II, U.S. District Judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, presided over the trial and ordered the completion of a presentence report. Sentencing will be scheduled following completion of the report. Hicks was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending the imposition of sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Charles Bucca and Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Howanitz represented the United States.

Updated March 15, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime