MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that Joseph Allen Hernandez, age 34, of Marble City, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of Murder in Indian Country, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1111(a), 1151 and 1153; and one count of Arson in Indian Country, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 81, 1151 and 1153.
The jury trial began on Tuesday, November 2021,, and ended on Friday, November 19, 2021,, with a guilty verdict on all three criminal charges. The jury’s verdicts indicate that the defendant faces life imprisonment.
During the trial, the United States provided evidence that the defendant had murdered Audrey Hernandez’s mother and grandmother, Francis Wright, on June 5th, 2019, by setting fire to both of their bodies with accelerant. It took place in a trailer home in Marble City, Oklahoma. Witnesses said both victims claimed that the defendant set fire to their homes and poured gasoline on them.
The guilty verdicts were reached after an investigation by the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Oklahoma because the defendant is a member of an Indian tribe that has been federally recognized. The crimes were committed in Sequoyah County within the Cherokee Nation Reservation boundaries and in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
The Honorable Charles B. Goodwin was the United States District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. He presided over the trial. He also ordered the completion of the presentence report. After the completion of this report, sentencing will take place. Hernandez was placed in the custody of the United States Marshal until sentencing.
Assistant United States attorney Michael Warren and Assistant United States attorney Jarrod Leaman represented United States.
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