Tulsa Woman Makes First Court Appearance for 2019 Murder of Curtiss Gaines

TULSA, OK – A Tulsa woman made an initial appearance in federal court today for first degree felony murder and robbery in Indian Country, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores

Nicole Deonn Williams, 36, of Tulsa, is charged with murdering Curtiss Gaines on June 18, 2019.

“Time and again, guns and drugs prove to be a volatile combination. In this case, the defendant and her boyfriend allegedly shot and killed Curtiss Gaines when they tried to rob him during a drug deal,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “This case comes to our office because of the McGirt decision, and our victim coordinators will work with the victim’s family to ensure they understand we will aggressively pursue justice.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, responding officers at first suspected that Gaines died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound because a shotgun was found underneath his body, but detectives later determined Gaines sustained a gunshot wound to his upper torso from a pistol caliber bullet. Upon investigating Gaines’ death, detectives found that Gaines allegedly received a call from a female, believed to be Williams, at 3 am, the day of the murder. The call came from a phone number associated with William’s boyfriend, Barton Roy Vann.  Shortly after the call, Gaines told a friend he had to leave and indicated he was returning to his residence.

A second individual indicated that he picked up Williams and Vann and drove them to Gaines’ residence at approximately 3:30 am and waited for them in his vehicle until they returned. He assumed the couple were going to purchase drugs from the victim, as they had in the past. Later, Vann allegedly told the individual that he had produced a handgun and attempted to rob the victim.  At some point during the robbery, Gaines obtained a shotgun and was subsequently shot by Vann. Vann is currently scheduled for trial in January 2020 with the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Williams faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

This matter will proceed in United States District Court in Tulsa, where the complaint is currently pending. A complaint is a temporary charge alleging a violation 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 the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The FBI and Tulsa Police Department are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin G. Bish is prosecuting the case. Mr. Bish is a prosecutor from the Western District of New York. He volunteered to assist prosecution efforts here in the Northern District of Oklahoma due to the increased volume of cases since the Supreme Court’s ruling which stated the Creek Nation Reservation had never been officially disestablished by Congress. The United States and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation have jurisdiction of all cases that occur on the reservation involving Native American victims or defendants.