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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Oklahoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 26, 2021

United States Attorney's Office For The Eastern District Of Oklahoma Files More Than 20 Indian Country Murder Cases

40 Violent Crime Cases Include 22 Murder, Four Manslaughter, and Six Sexual Abuse Involving Minors Cases

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced today it has filed forty (40) violent crime in Indian Country cases since the March 11, 2021, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals opinions in Bosse v. Oklahoma and Hogner v. Oklahoma. The cases include twenty-two murders, four manslaughters, and six sexual abuse offenses involving minor victims. The following cases have been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma by Criminal Complaint:

United States v. K.C. Cole – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Tonya Ann Waite – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Earl McAlister – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Johnatan Caldwell, Jason Armstrong, Jessie Hansen and Edmon McAlister – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Scott Tate Eagle – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Denise Grass – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Joseph Allen Hernandez – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. David Glen Thompson – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Tyrik D. Cohee – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. James Eric Parker – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Laurie Martin – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Tyler Mullins – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Charles Cooper – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Russell Williford – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Jessica Tyan Moore – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Bobby Joe Hector, Jr. – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Glen Gore – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Cory Boykin – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Stormy Gann – Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Tyler Presley – Murder in Perpetration of Kidnapping in Indian Country
United States v. Delila Ann Pacheco – Murder in Perpetration of Child Abuse in Indian Country
United States v. Brandon White – Murder in Second Degree Indian Country 
United States v. Heather Nicole White – Manslaughter in Indian Country
United States v. Shawn Jones – Manslaughter in Indian Country
United States v. James Russell Parker – Manslaughter in Indian Country
United States v. Robert Dwayne Roberts – Manslaughter in Indian Country
United States v. Tanya Michelle Wilson – Kidnapping in Indian Country
United States v. Christopher Space – Abusive Sexual Contact of a Child in Indian Country
United States v. J.D. Hooper – Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child in Indian Country
United States v. Philip Ryan Stanley – Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Indian Country
United States v. Lance Whelchel – Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Indian Country
United States v. Lucas James Blackbird – Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Indian Country and Aggravated Sexual Abuse in Indian Country
United States v. Santiago Perez III – Lewd Acts with a Child in Indian Country
United States v. Geoffrey Hitcher – Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury in Indian Country
United States v. Nicholas Hammer – Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury in Indian Country
United States v. Justin Taylor - Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country
United States v. Chavio Balderas – Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country
United States v. Chalad Teddie Lee Caldwell – Assault with Intent to Commit Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Bryce Alan Benshoof – Assault with Intent to Commit Murder in Indian Country
United States v. Clarence Wesley Sands – Assault with Intent to Commit Murder in Indian Country

“Our goal has been and will continue to be protecting the people of the Eastern District of Oklahoma by focusing all of our available resources on ensuring that violent offenders are transitioned from state custody to federal custody to be tried for the violent crimes they have been charged with committing,” said Acting United States Attorney Christopher J. Wilson. “Our staff has been working many long and stress-filled hours reviewing law enforcement reports and preparing charging documents. The logistics of handling this volume of cases has been challenging and has required the cooperation of District Attorney Offices, Sheriff Offices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.”

Many of the recent federal charges filed by the Eastern District of Oklahoma involve defendants previously convicted in state court. The Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma and the recent Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rulings in Bosse and Hogner held that Congress never disestablished the reservations of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Chickasaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation, and the State of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to prosecute major crimes involving Native Americans occurring on these reservation lands. Based on these rulings, many state convictions have and will be vacated. It will be the responsibility of the federal government and/or tribal governments to prosecute the offenders. It is anticipated additional decisions impacting the Choctaw and Seminole Nations will be issued by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in the coming days.

“As I stated when the recent Hogner and Bosse opinions came down, the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office has been identifying cases of violent offenders currently in custody within the areas of the Cherokee and Chickasaw reservations which could be impacted by a change in Indian Country jurisdiction. The collective efforts of our state, local, tribal, and federal partners have enabled our office to have federal charges in place to avoid these violent offenders from being released from custody. The forty cases filed to date are only the beginning. We are reviewing and making charging decisions on additional cases daily. In addition, we have already discovered approximately 150 violent offender cases in the Choctaw and Seminole areas over which we anticipate assuming federal criminal jurisdiction if the OCCA renders similar rulings,” said Wilson. 

“I am keenly aware of the hardship the jurisdictional change has placed on so many victims,” said Wilson.  “As the previous state convictions are being vacated for lack of jurisdiction, victims and victim families are being forced to relive the entire process. We are committed to assisting the victims of these violent crimes as their cases navigate through the federal criminal justice system.”

A criminal complaint does not constitute evidence of guilt.  A criminal complaint is only a method of bringing formal charges against a defendant. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and may not be found guilty unless evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Community Outreach
Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Office and Personnel Updates
Violent Crime
Updated March 28, 2021