An enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and member of the Indian Brotherhood (IBH), a prison-based gang active in Oklahoma, pleaded guilty today to charges related to two separate homicides that took place in 2015 and 2017 within Indian Country in Oklahoma.
According to court documents, in May 2015, Matthew Onesimo Armstrong, 32, of Seminole, Oklahoma, received orders from the IBH to question an individual about an unrelated homicide. On May 30, 2015, Armstrong went to victim Scotty Candler’s home with a firearm to question, scare and assault Candler. He was purportedly accompanied by John Douglas Knight, who was also associated with IBH and carrying a firearm. Outside the residence, Armstrong discharged two gunshots when Candler’s dogs ran out, while Knight, allegedly, entered the residence and fired one shot, killing Candler.
As set forth in the plea agreement, in 2017 Armstrong was involved in smuggling methamphetamine and other contraband for IBH into various prisons and jails. On April 16, 2017, at Armstrong’s residence, Armstrong had a dispute with victim Nicole Owl, who was also staying at the home. Armstrong and Nicholas Earl Faulkner took Owl into a wooded area behind the residence where Armstrong tied her to a tree. He left Owl tied to the tree for several hours and then returned with a rifle. Armstrong asked Faulkner if he wanted to shoot Owl, and Faulkner said “no.” Armstrong then shot Owl twice, killing her.
In connection with Candler’s death, Armstrong pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon with the intent to do bodily harm in Indian Country and to use, carry and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In connection with the killing of Owl, Armstrong pleaded guilty to murder in Indian Country, kidnapping, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. At sentencing, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In connection with Candler’s murder, Knight was indicted on May 12, on charges of committing a murder in Indian Country and carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2022. An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In connection with Owl’s murder, Faulkner pleaded guilty on May 22, 2019, to kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Faulkner’s sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Wilson of the Eastern District of Oklahoma made the announcement.
The FBI and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation are investigating the cases.
Trial Attorney Rami Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions (HRSP) Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney George Gialketsis of Eastern District of Oklahoma are prosecuting the case involving the murder of Nicole Owl. HRSP Trial Attorney Brian Morgan is prosecuting the case involving the murder of Scotty Candler in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.