Bristow Man Convicted of 2018 Murder in Jenks
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma
A federal jury convicted a Bristow man Wednesday for murdering a former girlfriend’s new dating partner in 2018, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Justin Dale Little, 29, was found guilty of first degree murder in Indian Country.
On April 22, 2018, at noon, victim Jonathon Weatherford was found deceased on the train tracks in Jenks, Oklahoma, with a single gunshot wound to his back. A passerby called 911, and the Jenks Police Department responded to the scene.
During the investigation, officers interviewed Weatherford’s girlfriend and asked if she knew of anyone who would want to harm the victim. She responded that Little was only individual she believed was “crazy enough” and had “enough motive” to commit the murder. The woman reported that she and Little dated in high school and had a child together, and after the relationship ended, Little would often harass the woman and her dating partners. She recalled that Little had appeared at a boyfriend’s house at 4 am after tracking her phone, cut break lines, distributed suggestive photographs of the woman, poured water into her vehicle’s gas tank, and admitted at one point that he had contemplated shooting the woman and a boyfriend.
In the weeks prior to the crime, the woman said she had agreed to marry Little, only so their child could receive National Guard benefits. Little was the service member. The woman told Little that she planned to continue dating Weatherford and that he would be in her life for a long time. She then told Little that if anything ever happened to Weatherford, she would suspect Little.
Officers also located surveillance video that placed the defendant at the crime scene in Jenks. The video revealed that Little watched the victim leave the girlfriend’s apartment around 11:40 am the day of the crime and walk toward his family’s home. Little’s pickup truck could be seen driving around the train tracks, following the victim for several minutes, then parking nearby. Footage further showed a man, identified as Weatherford, walking along the train tracks followed by a figure dressed in dark clothes. The victim and the figure eventually walked out of the view of the cameras. Shortly after, the figure ran back into the camera’s view and away from the scene of the crime. Footage then showed Little’s truck pull away from its parking spot near the crime scene and drive off.
Investigators pulled cell phone data, call logs, and PikePass records that helped confirm that it was Little seen in the surveillance video.
They further recovered a .300 Winchester Magnum Caliber Remington rifle with a scope and bipod from Little’s residence. Little purchased the rifle approximately a month before the murder. The medical examiner’s report revealed that Weatherford died from a gunshot wound to the back. The bullet had traveled through Weatherford’s backpack, a leather card holder full of several pages of playing cards and into the victim. The bullet broke multiple ribs before coming to rest just below his front chest. The rifle and bullet were sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, for ballistics comparison. A firearms expert determined the bullet was a .30 caliber round fired from a barrel rifled with six grooves with a right twist, which was consistent with the high powered rifle recovered from Little’s residence. Due to the damage to the bullet, the firearms expert was unable to determine if the bullet definitively came from Little’s rifle.
Previously, a Tulsa County jury also found Little guilty of the first degree murder of the victim, but his conviction was vacated following the Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma. The case was then prosecuted in federal court.
The FBI, Jenks Police Department, and Bristow Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas E. Buscemi and Victor A.S. Regal are prosecuting the case.
Updated November 16, 2022
Indian Country Law and Justice