On June 13, a federal grand jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma, returned an eight-count indictment against two men for kidnapping and murdering a woman in Indian country in April 2017.  

Matthew Onesimo Armstrong, 28, of Seminole County, Oklahoma, and a member of the Seminole Nation, and Nicholas Earl Faulkner, 31, of Hughes County, Oklahoma, and a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe, were jointly charged with murder, kidnapping, and related drugs and weapons violations. The defendants were previously arrested by criminal complaint and are both detained. Their initial appearance on the indictment is scheduled for June 20, before Magistrate Judge Steven P. Shreder of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester of the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Special Agent in Charge Kathryn Petersen of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office made the announcement.

The indictment alleges that on or about April 17, 2017, in Indian Country, the defendants were together in a house in Seminole County when they kidnapped Nicole Owl, 31, in a thickly forested area behind the house. The defendants retrieved materials from the house, including an extension cord and shoelaces, which were used to bind the victim’s hands and tie her body to a tree. The victim was left in the forested area for a period of time after which the defendants returned with a loaded SKS rifle. Armstrong then allegedly shot the victim twice, causing her death. Thereafter, the defendants purchased concrete from a nearby hardware store, dug a grave, and buried the victim’s body in the forest under a layer of concrete.

If convicted of all counts, the defendants could face the death penalty.  The Attorney General of the United States will decide whether to seek the death penalty based on the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney and after carefully considering the defendants’ background and the circumstances of the crime. 

   

An indictment is merely an allegation.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police, and the Seminole County District Attorney’s Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Mona Sahaf of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Edward Snow of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.