By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Three men were sentenced this week in the 2019 kidnapping and murder of a man on the Wind River Reservation.
Seth Thomas Blackburn, 31 of Arapahoe, Wyoming, Peter “Homer” Joseph Blackburn, 34 of Riverton and Brent Jordan Gould, 30, also of Riverton, were all sentenced this week by Chief U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl.
The three were charged in the murder of Victor Dale Addison, whose body was found along the banks of the Little Wind River on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Seth Blackburn pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and felony possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 60 years in prision, followed by five years of supervised release. Peter Blackburn pleaded guilty to unlawful seizure resulting in death and received a 12-year prison sentence, followed by five years of supervised release.
Gould also pleaded guilty to unlawful seizure and received a 15-year prison sentence, followed by five years of supervised release. All three offenders are jointly responsible for restitution in the amount of $4,946.
According to officials, on the afternoon of Aug. 4, 2019, the body of a Native American man, later identifed as Addison, was discovered lying face-up on the bank of the Little Wind River, beneath the Sharp Nose Road Bridge on the Wind River Reservation.
The victim’s hands were bound behind his back by an electrical cord and there was obvious trauma to his face and head. Upon close inspection, it was apparent the victim, while on the bridge, had been shot at close range in the back of the head before his body was dumped off of the bridge.
The incident was investigated by law enforcement agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Riverton Police Department and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, with substantial assistance from the Casper Police Department.
Investigators determined that Seth Blackburn was the individual who shot and killed Addison.
The investigation also revealed that Seth Blackburn’s half-brother, Peter Blackburn, and Peter Blackburn’s half-brother, Brent Gould, aided and abetted in Addison’s assault, kidnapping, and murder by helping restrain the victim at a residence in Riverton, and in transporting Addison to the bridge where he was ultimately murdered.
“When a murder is committed execution-style, the only motive is pure evil,” said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. “My office takes seriously its special responsibility to prosecute violent crimes on the Wind River Reservation and to hold these men accountable for the murder of this young man. I’m extremely proud of our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for their tireless, collaborative investigation which resulted in the successful prosecution of these violent and dangerous criminals.”
Investigators determined the murder was motivated by the defendants’ belief in unfounded rumors that Addison was responsible for the death of Martika Spoonhunter. Spoonhunter died in a single-vehicle car crash the day before Addison’s murder.
Spoonhunter was alone in the vehicle, and a FBI investigation into the circumstances of her death found no evidence to suggest that her death was anything other than an accident.
“The sentences today should be a warning that anyone who takes matters into their own hands instead of relying on the justice system, will themselves be investigated and prosecuted. The subjects’ horrific and misguided vigilantism resulted in the assault, torture, and execution of an innocent individual in the name of revenge,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “We thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Riverton Police Department, the Casper Police Department, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their dedication to protect our communities while seeking lawful justice.”