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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 11, 2022

Man Pleads Guilty to 2019 Delaware County Murder

A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court for taking part in the 2019 Delaware County murder of Jerry Tapp and the shooting of a second victim, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

Cody Dwayne Buzzard pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Indian Country and brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Also charged for the crimes are Cody’s brother Dakota Buzzard and father James Buzzard. The two men are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

“Today’s conviction was preceded by a meticulous and lengthy investigation by our local, state and federal law enforcement partners and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ben Tonkin and Victor Régal,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “My office will continue our pursuit for accountability in this case. Violent crime whether in Tulsa or in rural Oklahoma will be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.” 

“Today’s plea highlights the efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most violent offenders in Indian Country,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “Together we will continue to hold dangerous criminals like Mr. Buzzard accountable for their actions, pursue justice for victims, and make our communities a safer place  for all Oklahomans.”

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.

At 9:30 am the day of the crime, Dakota was located by deputies from the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office while driving a white 4-door Altima matching the victim’s description. OSBI agents later found four .22 caliber spent casings inside the vehicle and a .22 caliber rifle and bullets located behind a section of drywall in another individual’s residence who allegedly hid the firearm for the Buzzards. During the investigation, the shell casings found at the scene of the crime were identified as having been fired by the .22 caliber rifle.

On Aug. 6, 2019, investigators obtained Cody’s Facebook records after a search warrant was served. The day before the shooting Cody made inquiries using Facebook about getting a vehicle and firearm. He indicated that he “had business to tend to,” and he was going to “take care of a problem.”

During an interview with authorities, Dakota allegedly 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.

The FBI, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, and McDonald County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ben Tonkin and Victor A.S. Régal are prosecuting the case.

See press release describing the charges here.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Indian Country Law and Justice
Contact: 
Public Affairs 918-382-2755
Updated August 11, 2022