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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 22, 2019

Jury Returns Conviction for Murder in Indian Country

OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal jury has convicted TOMMY DEAN BULLCOMING, 55, of Hammon, Oklahoma, of first-degree felony murder in Indian Country and related offenses, announced Timothy J. Downing, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

A five-count indictment unsealed on April 6, 2018, charged Bullcoming with crimes he committed on September 6, 2017: first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and arson.  The indictment stated he "used force, violence, and intimidation to intentionally take a Lexus RX300" from an Indian and that this resulted in her death.  It further alleged he killed the victim "by stabbing and cutting her with a sharp object."  The arson count alleged he maliciously set fire to the victim’s dwelling in Hammon.  The case is in federal court because Bullcoming is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, because the offenses occurred in Indian Country, and because the vehicle used in the carjacking had traveled in interstate commerce.  The victim, Linda “Lindy” Zotigh, is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, as well.

Beginning on November 12, 2019, a jury heard evidence that Bullcoming beat Zotigh, his ex-girlfriend, in her home and then bound her mouth and wrists with duct tape.  Using her vehicle, he drove her to a field in Indian Country and made her walk approximately 50 yards away from the road, where he stabbed her 48 times and slit her throat.  He then drove her vehicle back to her home, which he set on fire.  Volunteer firefighters from Hammon noticed fresh blood in the residence, and a Special Agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs found fresh blood on the headrest of the vehicle.  Both blood samples matched the victim, while blood on the vehicle’s dashboard matched Bullcoming.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs arrested Bullcoming in El Reno on September 8, 2017, for failing to appear before the Tribal District Court for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Concho on September 7 on a charge of trafficking in controlled dangerous substances.  He had scrapes and cuts on his arms, hands, and legs, as well as blood on his belt and sandals.  DNA analysis confirmed the blood on his sandals belonged to the victim.  On December 5, 2017, Bullcoming pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.  He was sentenced in that case on April 18, 2018, to ten months in prison.

During the early evening of November 21, a jury found Bullcoming guilty of first-degree felony murder, carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and arson of a dwelling.  It was unable to reach a verdict on first-degree premeditated murder.  The verdict was returned on what would have been Linda Zotigh’s birthday.

At sentencing, Bullcoming faces mandatory life in prison for felony murder, carjacking, and kidnapping.  The maximum punishment for arson would be 25 years in prison and five years of supervised release.  He could also be fined up to $250,000 on each count and be required to pay restitution.  There is no parole in the federal justice system.  Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City Field Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the United States Secret Service; the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation; the Oklahoma Highway Patrol; the Roger Mills County  Sheriff’s Office; the Custer County Sheriff’s Office; the United States Marshals Service; and the Hammon Fire Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark R. Stoneman and Arvo Q. Mikkanen are prosecuting the case, which furthers the Department of Justice’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative.  Attorney General Barr is announcing that initiative today; for more information, go to https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-launches-national-strategy-address-missing-and-murdered.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Updated November 22, 2019