OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court has overturned the first-degree murder conviction and death sentence of an Oklahoma man who claimed he should have been tried in federal court because he was an American Indian.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided Tuesday with Patrick Dwayne Murphy, who asserted that state courts lacked jurisdiction because he was a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the crime occurred in Indian territory.
A McIntosh County jury found Murphy guilty of the 1999 murder of George Jacobs and a judge sentenced him to death. Prosecutors said he had confessed to killing Jacobs when he was arrested.
The federal appeals court concluded that decisions about the borders of the Creek reservation remain with Congress.
Federal prosecutors must decide whether to try Murphy.