Both Oklahoma murder suspects back in custody

James And Dakota Buzzard Mugshots
(2019 photos of James and Dakota Buzzard)

 

DELAWARE COUNTY, Okla. – Authorities arrest James Buzzard, the second murder suspect recently released from jail in northeast Oklahoma.

Law enforcement officers arrested James on March 31, a day after they arrested his son, Dakota, the other murder suspect. (Read more: US Marshals arrest 1 of 2 murder suspects in Oklahoma)

In 2019, county prosecutors filed murder charges against both men. Authorities say the father and son fatally shot Jerry Tapp at a home near Grove, Oklahoma.

The two men were sitting in jail until March 19, 2021, when the county released them. Why were they released? Neither federal or tribal prosecution re-filed paperwork after a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction. (Read more in previous article: Marshals search for recently released Oklahoma murder suspects)

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says at that point, the jail had no legal authority to keep the men.

But the Cherokee Attorney General’s office was contacted the next day, Saturday, March 20, and they re-filed charges on Monday.

The Alleged Crime

On August 1st, 2019, Deputies responded to a home at 32501 S 685 Road in Delaware County, Oklahoma (near Grove). They arrived and found Jerry Tapp, 49, dead in the front yard from multiple gunshot wounds. His live-in girlfriend, Cassie Tennison, 32, had a non-life-threatening gunshot to the right wrist. She made the 911 call for help. Medical personnel treated and released her.

On August 2nd, authorities got felony warrants for two people.

Officials charged Dakota Buzzard, 18, of Grove, with first degree murder and attempted murder.

They charged James Buzzard, 46, of Grove, with accessory to murder.

Officers say the shooting appeared to be retaliation for a shooting incident in June of 2015 where Jerry Tapp fired a shotgun into a vehicle occupied by James Buzzard and an 11-year-old girl. The child received a non-life-threatening gunshot wound as a result of this incident.