Marshals search for recently released Oklahoma murder suspects
Men released after recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling
DELAWARE COUNTY, Okla. – U.S. Marshals search for two murder suspects recently released from jail in northeast Oklahoma. Authorities consider them armed and dangerous.
In 2019, county prosecutors filed murder charges against James and Dakota Buzzard. Authorities say the father and son fatally shot Jerry Tapp at a home near Grove, Oklahoma.
The two men were sitting in jail until last Friday, March 19, 2021. Why did authorities release them? Because no courts filed new paperwork after a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.
Last year’s 5-4 court decision means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma (Read more on ruling and local reaction).
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says after the ruling, neither federal nor tribal courts filed new paperwork on the suspects. The Delaware County jail had no legal authority to keep the men.
But now, new paper work has been filed. The District Court of The Cherokee Nation Criminal Division issued first degree murder warrants for both men.
The U.S. Marshals say the men have connections in the Grove area as well as in Galena, Kansas. Authorities consider them armed and dangerous.
If you have information about where they are, contact U.S. Marshals at 1-877-WANTED2 or USMS Tips at www.usmarshals.gov/tips.
The 2019 Murder
On August 1st, 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. James is reportedly the father of Dakota.
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.