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Press Release

Lincoln County Woman Sentenced to Serve More Than 21 Years in Federal Prison for Second-Degree Murder in Connection with a House Fire

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

OKLAHOMA CITY - Today, DESMA VALDEZ, 20, of Lincoln County, was sentenced to more than 21 years in federal prison for second-degree murder in connection with a house fire in Indian Country, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On January 21, 2020, a federal grand jury returned a six-count Indictment charging Valdez with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, arson, and using fire and explosives to commit a felony.  On March 10, 2021, Valdez pleaded guilty to the two counts of second-degree murder. 

The case stemmed from a fire on December 28, 2019, at a trailer home on tribal land of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma.  Public records reflect that Valdez deliberately set fire to the trailer home in which her sister and her sister’s boyfriend slept.  Both victims died in the fire.  The case was charged in federal court because the crime took place in Indian Country and Valdez is an Indian.

Today, U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones sentenced Valdez to serve 262 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In imposing the sentence, Judge Jones noted the seriousness of the offense, including the impact to both the victims and the families of the victims.  Valdez has been in federal custody since her arrest on January 1, 2020. 

This case is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Oklahoma City Field Division, the Kickapoo Tribal Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Stoneman and Thomas B. Snyder prosecuted the case.

Reference is made to public filings for more information.

Updated August 31, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice