Marble City Resident Found Guilty Of Two Counts Of Murder In Indian Country And One Count Of Arson 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 Joseph Allen Hernandez, age 34, of Marble City, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of Murder in Indian Country, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1111(a), 1151 and 1153; and one count of Arson in Indian Country, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 81, 1151 and 1153.
The jury trial began with testimony on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, and concluded on Friday, November 19, 2021, with a verdict of guilty on all three criminal counts. Based on the jury’s verdicts, the defendant is facing up to life in prison.
During the trial, the United States presented evidence that on June 5, 2019, the defendant murdered his mother, Audrey Hernandez, and his grandmother, Francis Wright by covering both victims with accelerant and setting them on fire. The incident occurred in a trailer house in Marble City, Oklahoma. Witnesses testified both victims told emergency responders that the defendant poured gasoline on them and set them on fire.
The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma prosecuted the case because the defendant in this case is a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe and the crimes occurred in Sequoyah County, within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation Reservation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
The Honorable Charles B. Goodwin, 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. Hernandez was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending the imposition of sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Michael Warren and Assistant United States Attorney Jarrod Leaman represented the United States.
Updated November 19, 2021
Indian Country Law and Justice