Tahlequah Daily Press

February 22, 2013

Adair County man found guilty of murder

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — One of three people facing murder charges in Adair County was found guilty by a jury last week.

Jurors recommended Michael Wolfe receive a life sentence for first-degree murder, with no chance at parole, for the 2012 death of Steven Buckner.

Buckner’s body was found on an Adair County road south of Stilwell on Feb. 7, 2012. Investigators said Buckner’s head and body had been severely beaten by Wolfe, and an exam by the state medical examiner determined Buckner died due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Carlos Locust and Dion Gonzales are also charged with Buckner’s murder, and their cases are pending.

“I am glad that another killer has been removed from our communities,” District Attorney Brian Kuester said in a press release. “This verdict will stop Wolfe from harming anyone again. I also believe this verdict and last week’s verdict [in another murder trial] sends a message to criminals that if they commit crimes, they will be punished.”

Prosecutors Josh King and Stephanie Milburn tried the case, and Wolfe was represented by attorneys Matthew Orendorff and John Echols.

“Josh and Stephanie did a great job of preparing this case for trial and presenting it to the jury,” said Kuester. “We can’t get results like this without solid investigations. The [Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations], the sheriff’s office, and the police department should be commended for their work as well.”

Wolfe’s formal sentencing is set for April 23 before District Judge Jeff Payton, who presided over the trial.