Man convicted in beating case set to go free

Daniel Viver

One of three people convicted in the 2011 beating and robbery of an 85-year-old man at his Pontotoc County home is set to go free in relation to "McGirt v. Oklahoma."

Daniel Wayne Vivier, 27, was recently granted post-conviction relief in district court, an indirect result of the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling, and more specifically, the “Bosse v. Oklahoma” case ruling, which essentially determined that the Chickasaw Nation Indian Reservation was never disestablished by Congress, and remains intact.

The ruling indicates that the state of Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction to charge and prosecute individuals accused of crimes who have American Indian blood -- or where the victim(s) is of Indian blood -- for crimes committed on the Chickasaw Nation Reservation, leaving it up to the federal government or the tribal courts to handle such criminal cases.

On March 17, Vivier's state charges, conviction and sentences were vacated. The order was stayed for 20 days, meaning the post-conviction relief will not take effect until 20 days after March 17. The stay was put in place to “allow the state of Oklahoma to communicate with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation to insure timely issuance of a warrant or detainer from the proper jurisdiction.”

However, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation, due to statutes of limitation, the federal government nor the Chickasaw Nation will be able to pick up the case against Vivier, so he is scheduled to go free April 6.

Vivier originally pleaded no contest in 2013 to various felony charges and was sentenced to 40 years in prison with 10 years suspended.

Claude Arterburn beating

Authorities allege Vivier, then 17, along with then 17-year-old Grant Ellis Johnson and 18-year-old Trey Lee Irvin severely beat Claude Arterburn during a home invasion in January 2011.

Two days after Arterburn was beaten and left for dead, an Ada police officer conducted a traffic stop on Arterburn's pickup, of which Johnson was driving. After questioning Johnson, the officer became suspicious and requested deputies respond to Arterburn’s residence on County Road 1549 near Latta Road.

Deputies responded and discovered Arterburn lying on the floor covered in blood. He had been beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed several times.

Arterburn was taken by Valley View EMS to Valley View Regional Hospital, then flown to OU Medical Center.

After spending weeks in intensive care for multiple facial and skull fractures and internal bleeding, Arterburn mostly recovered. However, he said during court testimony that he suffered lasting damage caused by the beating. He died in 2014 at the age of 89.

Johnson reportedly told authorities he had borrowed the pickup from a friend on 16th Street. Police located the friend, who was with Vivier, at a residence on 16th Street.

Vivier reportedly told authorities that, before breaking into Arterburn's residence, he, Irvin and Johnson originally went out to break into cars but could not find any.

He then got the idea to burglarize a house, and said Irvin knew a place across from the cement plant which he had burglarized before. He said Irvin broke the glass on Arterburn’s door and the three entered, according to deputies.

“(Vivier) stated (Irvin) then went to Mr. Arterburn’s bedroom where Mr. Arterburn was asleep and started beating Mr. Arterburn in the head with a baseball bat he had picked up outside the residence,” former Deputy Chris Bittle said in a report.

The three then reportedly left the residence with Arterburn’s pickup, a gun and a large amount of cash.

According to a court affidavit, Vivier implicated Irvin as the one who committed the beating with a baseball bat.

Irvin pleaded no contest in 2012 to various felony charges and was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison with 10 years suspended. He is currently incarcerated in the Lexington Correctional Center.

Johnson also pleaded no contest in 2012 to various felony charges and was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison with 20 years suspended. He is currently incarcerated in the Lawton Correctional Facility.

Trending Video

Recommended for you