Man given life term for kidnapping, murder

  • Man given life term

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man with a history of violence against women was sentenced Monday to life in federal prison for carjacking and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, killing her in Indian Country, then torching her house.

Tommy Dean Bullcoming, 56, of Hammon, in eastern Roger Mills County, was convicted of committing first-degree felony murder, carjacking, kidnapping and arson on Sept. 6, 2017. The name of his victim was not used in court documents.

Citing Bullcoming’s three prior convictions for violent crimes against women, U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin sentenced Bullcoming to life imprisonment for first-degree felony murder, 25 years’ imprisonment for carjacking resulting in death, life imprisonment for kidnapping resulting in death, and 25 years’ imprisonment for arson.

There is no parole in the federal prison system, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing noted.

Goodwin also ordered Bullcoming to pay $17,613 in restitution for damage to the victim’s home and vehicle as well as funeral expenses. 

The indictment alleged Bullcoming “used force, violence, and intimidation to intentionally take a Lexus RX300” from an Indian and that this resulted in death. It further alleged he killed the victim “by stabbing and cutting her with a sharp object.” The arson count alleged he “willfully and maliciously” set fire to the victim’s dwelling in Hammon.

In November 2019 a federal jury heard evidence that Bullcoming beat his former girlfriend in her home and then bound her mouth and wrists with duct tape. Evidence at trial showed that, using her vehicle, he drove her to a field in Indian Country and made her walk approximately 50 yards away from the road, where he stabbed her 48 times and slit her throat.

Evidence also showed that he drove her vehicle back to her home, which he set on fire. Volunteer firefighters from Hammon noticed fresh blood in the residence, and a special agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) found fresh blood on the headrest of the vehicle. Both blood samples matched the victim, while blood on the vehicle’s dashboard matched Bullcoming.

The BIA arrested Bullcoming in El Reno two days after the murder, on Sept. 8, 2017, for failing to appear before the Tribal District Court for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Concho the day before to answer a charge of trafficking in controlled dangerous substances.

Evidence at trial showed that he had scrapes and cuts on his arms, hands, and legs, as well as blood on his belt and sandals. DNA analysis confirmed the blood on his sandals belonged to the victim.

A federal jury on Nov. 21, 2019, found Bullcoming guilty of first-degree felony murder, carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and arson of a dwelling. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on first-degree premeditated murder. The verdict was returned on what would have been the victim’s birthday.

The case was prosecuted in federal court because Bullcoming is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, and so was his victim; the offenses occurred in Indian Country under the jurisdiction of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes; and the vehicle used in the carjacking had traveled in interstate commerce.

Bullcoming pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing marijuana with intent to distribute in 2017, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton on April 12, 2018, to 10 months in prison. 

Two months later Bullcoming appealed his sentence to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but it was denied. On June 10, 2019, Bullcoming filed a motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his sentence; that request was rejected four months later.

Records in the Oklahoma State Courts Network show Bullcoming was named in three domestic cases by three different women. A default judgment of paternity was issued against him in Roger Mills County in 1992. A paternity suit was filed against him in Cleveland County in 2012, but court records on disposition of that case are unclear. And a third woman was granted a divorce from Bullcoming in Comanche County District Court in 2013.

In addition, state Corrections Department records indicate Bullcoming has been imprisoned three times: from August 1990 to August 1992 for a Beckham County conviction of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute; from June 2002 to April 2005 on a Kiowa County conviction of escape from jail; and from June 2006 to June 2008 on a conviction from Beckham County for assault and/or battery with a dangerous weapon.

The murder was investigated by the BIA’s Office of Justice Services; the Federal Bureau of Investigation Oklahoma City Field Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the United States Secret Service; the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation; the Oklahoma Highway Patrol; the Roger Mills County and Custer County Sheriff’s Offices; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Hammon Fire Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark R. Stoneman and Arvo Q. Mikkanen prosecuted the case, “which furthers the Department of Justice’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative,” Downing said.