The Oklahoman

Woman sentenced in fatal Indian Country house fire case

- Josh Dulaney

A 20-year-old Lincoln County woman was sentenced this week to more than 21 years in federal prison for second-degree murder in connection with a house fire in Indian Country.

FBI investigat­ors said Desma Valdez admitted she set the fire at a trailer home near Harrah that killed her sister and sister’s boyfriend on Dec. 28, 2019.

The victims were Daisica Nashawn Rice, 20, and Tyler Kaulaity, 22.

Valdez told the FBI she and her sister were at her grandmothe­r’s house drinking. She said she fought with her sister’s boyfriend, and she confronted her sister about it before they all went to sleep.

Valdez said she woke up, started drinking vodka and began getting angry, according to an FBI affidavit. Valdez said she eventually cut her arm, poured gasoline on the bottom of the mattress where the victims were sleeping and screamed at them to get up.

She said she was threatenin­g to kill herself and told them “you can both go down with me,” the FBI reported.

She said the fire began when Rice grabbed her and she dropped a lighter.

When police arrived, Valdez was on the front porch and told an officer, “I did it. I did it,” according to the affidavit.

Authoritie­s charged Valdez in Oklahoma City federal court because the fire was on Indian trust land and she is a Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma member.

On Jan. 21, 2020, a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Valdez with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, arson, and using fire and explosives to commit a felony.

March 10, Valdez pleaded guilty to the two counts of second-degree murder.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones sentenced Valdez to serve 262 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

Valdez has been in federal custody since her arrest on Jan. 1, 2020.

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