A Delaware County man faces a murder conspiracy charge in federal court after his state case was dismissed in March due to lack of jurisdiction, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Cody Buzzard, 27, was charged Tuesday by Criminal Complaint with conspiracy to murder in Indian Country. The crime was committed on the Cherokee Nation reservation.
A Complaint is a temporary charge alleging violation of the law. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. For the case to proceed to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal Grand Jury within 30 days. Once a Grand Jury returns an Indictment, a defendant has a right to a jury trial at which time the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt.
On Aug. 1, 2019, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting near Jay. Deputies discovered Jerry Wayne Tapp deceased in his front yard. It appeared that Tapp sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his body and that a second victim had sustained a gunshot wound to her arm. According to the affidavit accompanying the Complaint, the victim told investigators that she heard a noise outside the home early on Aug. 1 and thought that Tapp had forgotten his keys to the house. She then turned on the light and opened the door. She heard gunfire and felt a sudden pain in her right wrist then shut and locked the front door, crawled to another room, and called 911. The witness explained that she saw a white 4-door car that did not belong to the victims and Tapp’s truck before shutting the door. When officers arrived both vehicles were gone. During a crime scene investigation, OSBI agents discovered approximately 12, .22 caliber spent casings in the yard.
In the affidavit, Cody’s brother Dakota Buzzard and father James Buzzard are implicated as being possible participants in the murder conspiracy.
At 9:30 am the day of the crime, Dakota was located by deputies from the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office while driving a white 4-door Altima matching the victim’s description. OSBI agents later found four .22 caliber spent casings inside the vehicle and a .22 caliber rifle and bullets located behind a section of drywall in another individual’s residence who allegedly hid the firearm for the Buzzards. During the investigation, the shell casings found at the scene of the crime were identified as having been fired by the .22 caliber rifle.
Witnesses to events following the murder claimed they overheard conversations stating that someone had been killed, that Dakota and his brother Cody had killed someone, that Cody was disposing of a pickup, and that James Buzzard had allegedly spoken about being involved.
On Aug. 6, 2019, investigators obtained Cody’s Facebook records after a search warrant was served. The day before the shooting Cody allegedly made inquiries using Facebook about getting a vehicle and firearm. He allegedly indicated that he “had business to tend to,” and he was going to “take care of a problem.”
The FBI, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, and McDonald County Sheriff’s Office are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ben Tonkin and Victor Régal are prosecuting the case.