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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Wyoming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

THREE MEN SENTENCED FOR KIDNAPPING AND MURDER ON THE WIND RIVER

Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that SETH THOMAS BLACKBURN, age 31 of Arapahoe, Wyoming; PETER JOSEPH BLACKBURN, a/k/a "Homer," age 34 of Riverton, Wyoming; and BRENT JORDAN GOULD, age 30 of Riverton, Wyoming, were all sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl for crimes related to an August 4, 2019, kidnapping that resulted in the death of Victor Dale Addison. Seth Blackburn pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm and first-degree murder. The government argued for a 65-year sentence, and the court imposed a sentence of 60 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. Peter "Homer" Blackburn pleaded guilty to unlawful seizure resulting in death and received a sentence of 12 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. Gould also pleaded guilty to unlawful seizure resulting in death and received a sentence of 15 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. All three offenders are jointly responsible for restitution in the amount of $4,946.

On the afternoon of August 4, 2019, the body of a Native American man was discovered lying face up on the bank of the Little Wind River, beneath the Sharp Nose Road Bridge on the Wind River Reservation near Arapahoe, Wyoming. The victim’s hands were bound behind his back by an electrical cord and there was obvious trauma to his face and head. Upon close inspection, it was apparent the victim, while on the bridge, had been shot at close range in the back of the head before his body was dumped off of the bridge and onto the rocks below. The victim was later identified as Addison.

Law enforcement agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Riverton Police Department, and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, with substantial assistance from the Casper Police Department, identified Seth Blackburn as the individual who shot and killed Addison. The investigation also revealed that Seth Blackburn’s half-brother, Peter Blackburn, and Peter’s half-brother, Brent Gould, aided and abetted in Addison’s assault, kidnapping, and murder by helping restrain the victim at a residence in Riverton, and in transporting Addison from there to the bridge where he was ultimately murdered. The murder was motivated by the defendants’ belief in unfounded rumors that the victim was responsible for the death of Martika Spoonhunter. Spoonhunter died in a single vehicle car crash the day before Addison’s murder. She was alone in the vehicle, and a FBI investigation into the circumstances of her death found no evidence to suggest that her death was anything other than a tragic accident.

"When a murder is committed execution style, the only motive is pure evil," said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. "My office takes seriously its special responsibility to prosecute violent crimes on the Wind River Reservation and to hold these men accountable for the murder of this young man. I’m extremely proud of our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for their tireless, collaborative investigation which resulted in the successful prosecution of these violent and dangerous criminals."

"The sentences today should be a warning that anyone who takes matters into their own hands instead of relying on the justice system, will themselves be investigated and prosecuted. The subjects’ horrific and misguided vigilantism resulted in the assault, torture, and execution of an innocent individual in the name of revenge," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "We thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Riverton Police Department, the Casper Police Department, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their dedication to protect our communities while seeking lawful justice."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy W. Gist.

Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
21-047
Updated August 19, 2021