Valentine’s Day argument between husband, wife turns deadly
By Ken Childers
Valentine’s Day, the day typically associated with love and romance, was marred by a deadly act of violence between a man and wife at their home in Clearview.
At 4:29 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, a man called the Okemah Police Department to report that he had killed his wife, Stephanie. The caller, who identified himself as Tommy Gouge, told the dispatcher he would be waiting unarmed in the yard of his home on Main Street in Clearview with his three children.
Okfuskee County Sheriff Jim Rasmussen, along with Deputies Tim Rowland and Nikita Muse, arrived at the scene at about 4:45 p.m. to find Gouge standing in the yard with a 12-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, and girl who is about to turn two.
“He was just standing there in the yard with his three kids, smoking a cigar and drinking a bottle of water,” Rasmussen said. “As soon as I approached him, he immediately started to confess what he had done. I told him to hold up a minute until we could get the kids out of there.”
The children were placed in DHS Custody and Gouge was arrested without incident and transported to the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office. According to Rasmussen, Gouge admitted to bludgeoning his wife to death after an argument over text messages he had discovered on her cell phone. “She allegedly threatened him with a knife,” Rasmussen said. “He disarmed her, stabbed her, then bludgeoned her to death.”
Court records show that Stephanie had filed a protective order against Gouge on Jan. 10, but withdrew it on Jan. 24, telling the court she did not wish to move forward with the order.
Rasmussen said this case was “very personal,” as he knew both Gouge and his wife. “Tommy worked for me at the courthouse, doing stuff like emptying trash, vacuuming, and mopping floors. And my wife bought Christmas presents for the kids just a couple of years ago,” he said.
According to court records, Gouge, was charged in January with possessing a firearm after a felony conviction. He was arraigned in Okfuskee County Court on Feb. 11, a mere three days before he told police he killed his wife.
A search of Oklahoma Department of Corrections records revealed that Gouge was incarcerated from Oct. 19, 2011 until Oct. 31, 2013 for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. According to court records, Gouge was charged in 2011 with shooting with intent to kill in Okmulgee County. Other past charges include domestic abuse and aggravated assault and battery.
Gouge was reportedly a former chief of the “Indian Brotherhood Gang,” a gang whose members are primarily of Native American descent. Authorities say the gang has expectations and commands, which must be followed by every member, each of whom is controlled by a “war chief.” That person makes command decisions concerning actions to be taken by his “tribe.” The gang uses this structure to coordinate the distribution of controlled substances, collections of monies owed for controlled substances, and the protection by force of other members and their drug-trafficking interests within and outside the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
The past couple of weeks have been deadly for Okfuskee County as three murders have occurred within a nine-day period. On Feb. 5, Joshua Green allegedly killed Tina Burleigh and her son Tim Rush, burned their house down then led authorities on a 16-hour manhunt before being apprehended at a former marine’s home, also located in Clearview.