Fifth suspect arrested in ‘God’s Misfits’ killings of two women in Oklahoma

Paul Grice is accused of kidnapping and murdering the two mothers along with four others

Dan Gooding
Thursday 25 April 2024 00:06 BST
Oklahoma kidnap and murder suspects appear in court

A fifth member of the “God’s Misfits” group has been charged with kidnap and murder following the killings of two women who were “lured” to their deaths in rural Oklahoma.

Paul Grice, 31, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder over the killings of Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39.

Investigators said on Wednesday that Mr Grice had been arrested earlier in the day “based on the evidence and information gathered from the case”.

Mr Grice is the latest arrest after two couples were charged with murder - Tifany Machel Adams, 54; Tad Bert Cullum, 43; Cole Earl Twombly, 50; and Cora Twombly, 44.

All are believed to be part of an anti-government, religious group calling themselves “God’s Misfits”.

Paul Grice is the fifth member of the self-proclaimed “God’s Misfits” group to be charged with murdering two women from Kansas
Paul Grice is the fifth member of the self-proclaimed “God’s Misfits” group to be charged with murdering two women from Kansas (OSBI/Texas County Sheriff’s Department)

Mr Grice was named in arrest documents relating to the other suspects, obtained by The Independent.

On 30 March, the women were headed to pick up Ms Butler’s children and take her daughter to a birthday party when they vanished.

According to court documents, Ms Butler was involved in a “problematic” custody battle over her children with one of the suspects, Tifany Adams.

Ms Adams is the children’s paternal grandmother and they had been staying with her, investigators said, while her son Wrangler Rickman, 26, is in a rehab facility.

Ms Butler was allowed supervised visits on Saturdays. The day before she disappeared, Ms Butler was told by Ms Adams that her usual, paid supervisor was not available, and she should bring her own chosen person.

Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley disappeared on 30 March in rural Oklahoma. Their bodies were identified last week and five people have been charged over their murders
Veronica Butler, left, and Jilian Kelley disappeared on 30 March in rural Oklahoma. Their bodies were identified last week and five people have been charged over their murders (AP)

Ms Kelley, a preacher’s wife, was that chosen person.

On 30 March, the pair were driving towards the agreed pick-up point for the children on Highway 95 when they were allegedly diverted from the road by two members of the “God’s Misfits” group, according to police.

The Twomblys allegedly blocked the road so that the two victims would be directed to where Ms Adams and Mr Cullum were positioned at a desolate crossroads.

Their car was later found by Ms Butler’s relatives with signs of a “severe injury”. Police found blood on the ground, along with Ms Butler’s glasses and a broken hammer. In Ms Kelley’s purse, they found a pistol magazine but no firearm.

When the other four suspects were arrested, investigators alleged that the group had plotted for weeks to kill Ms Butler, stating that they “lured” the two women to the point where they vanished.

Tifany Adams, left, is the paternal grandmother of Veronica Butler’s children. She has been charged over Ms Butler’s murder
Tifany Adams, left, is the paternal grandmother of Veronica Butler’s children. She has been charged over Ms Butler’s murder (AP/Facebook)

Searches of Ms Adams’ phone showed that she had looked up “taser pain level, gun shops, prepaid cellular phones and how to get someone out of their house”.

The two women were forced into another vehicle and taken “to another location with the intent to cause Veronica Butler/Jilian Kelley to be confined/imprisoned against [their] will,” court documents read.

Three pre-paid phones, purchased by Ms Adams, pinged at the location where the women’s car was later found.

Two of those phones were found in a pasture below a dam, around eight miles away, where a hole had recently been dug and then filled back in. Those devices had shown up close to the Twomblys’ residence and another home, a police affidavit said.

It is unclear what happened following the apparent abductions or how the victims died. The Medical Examiner’s Office is yet to release its report.

During inquiries, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation questioned Mr Rickman’s grandmother, Debi Knox-Davis, who said that her grandson told her in February that “they didn’t have to worry about the custody battle much longer because Adams had it under control”.

While Mr Rickman denied having the conversation, he allegedly told his grandmother that “we will take out Veronica at drop off”.

Investigators also interviewed Ms Twombley’s 16-year-old daughter, identified as “CW”. She alleged that the suspects the group, “God’s Misfits”.

Clockwise from top left: Tad Bert Cullum, 43, Cora Twombly, 44, Cole Earl Twombly, 50, and Tifany Machel Adams, 54, were arrested and charged with murder earlier this month
Clockwise from top left: Tad Bert Cullum, 43, Cora Twombly, 44, Cole Earl Twombly, 50, and Tifany Machel Adams, 54, were arrested and charged with murder earlier this month (AP)

“CW” alleged that the group had earlier tried to kill Ms Butler in February. One plan had been to throw an anvil through the woman’s windshield in order to make her death look like an accident.

On 29 March, Mr and Ms Twombly told their daughter that they were going on a “mission” the next day, so likely would not be there when she woke up, according to the affidavits. The couple returned home at around noon and told the girl to clean the interior of their Chevrolet pickup.

Ms Twombly told her daughter that “things did not go as planned, but that they would not have to worry about her [Butler] again,” the court documents said.

CW alleged that she had asked why Ms Kelley had to die and her mother told her that she wasn’t innocent because she had supported Ms Butler, the documents said.

Those documents named Mr Grice alongside the other four defendants, but the OSBI said that there were no other suspects following the four other suspects’ arrests.

According to separate court records from 2023, obtained by The Independent, Mr Grice made several bizarre statements, including claiming his children as his property and that he is not a US citizen.

Ms Adams, Mr Cullum and Mr and Ms Twombly appeared in court last week, wearing bullet-proof vests, to hear the charges against them.

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