Marble City man found guilty of murder, arson

Joseph Allen Hernandez, 34, of Marble City, was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of murder in Indian County and one count of arson in Indian Country.

The jury trial began with testimony on Tuesday and concluded Friday. Based on the jury’s verdicts, Hernandez is facing up to life in prison.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that on June 5, 2019, Hernandez murdered his mother, Audrey Hernandez, and his grandmother, Francis Wright, by covering both victims with accelerant and setting them on fire in a trailer house in Marble City. Witnesses testified both victims told emergency responders that the defendant poured gasoline on them and set them on fire.

The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma prosecuted the case because the defendant in this case is a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe and the crimes occurred in Sequoyah County, within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation Reservation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, presided over the trial and ordered the completion of a presentence report. Sentencing will be scheduled following completion of the report. Hernandez was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending the imposition of sentencing.

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