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Press Release

Man Charged Along with his Sons for 2019 Delaware County Murder

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

A Grove man has now been charged in a second superseding indictment with a 2019 Delaware County murder, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

A federal grand jury indicted James William Buzzard, 49, and his sons, Cody Dwayne Buzzard, 28, and Dakota Chase Buzzard, 20, all of Grove, with the first degree murder of Jerry Tapp.

The three men were charged with first degree murder in Indian Country; assault with a dangerous weapon in Indian Country; and carrying, using, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Cody and Dakota Buzzard were previously indicted in September 2021.

On Aug. 1, 2019, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting near Jay. Deputies discovered Jerry Tapp deceased in his front yard. It appeared that Tapp sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his body and that a second victim had sustained a gunshot wound to her arm. According to court documents, the victim told investigators that she heard a noise outside the home early that morning and thought Tapp had forgotten his keys to the house. When she turned on the light and opened the door, she heard gunfire and felt a sudden pain in her right wrist. She then shut and locked the front door, crawled to another room, and called 911. While investigating the crime, OSBI agents located and seized approximately 12, .22 caliber spent casings in the yard, driveway and roadway.

During an interview with authorities, Dakota Buzzard stated that he, James, and Cody Buzzard drove toward Tapp’s residence, parked up the road from the home, and waited for him to return from work. James Buzzard allegedly told his sons to retrieve a loaded .22 caliber rifle from the trunk of the car. Dakota stated that once Tapp drove by, the three men followed him to his home. After Tapp stepped out of his vehicle, prosecutors allege the Buzzards aided and abetted one another to shoot and kill Tapp and then shoot his girlfriend.

James Buzzard was initially charged by criminal complaint in February 2022 and was detained pending further criminal proceedings.

The crimes occurred within the Cherokee Nation reservation.

The FBI, Okalhoma State Bureau of Investigation, and Delaware County Sheriff’s Office are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ben Tonkin and Victor A.S. Régal are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Public Affairs

Updated March 22, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime