Federal Murder Trial Begins For Man At Center Of Supreme Court Ruling On Tribal Jurisdiction

Tuesday, August 3rd 2021, 6:17 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

A man who’s been on death row in Oklahoma for the past 20 years is getting re-tried for murder, this time, in federal court.

Patrick Murphy was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s former lover in 1999 and sentenced to death. However, the case was dismissed due to last year’s Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction.

After 21 years, Patrick Murphy is back in a courtroom and it’s starting all over from scratch, meaning he could walk free or end up behind bars again.

A McIntosh County jury found Murphy guilty in 2000 and he was sentenced to death. Murphy is a member of the Muscogee Nation, so his case was later overturned after the Supreme Court ruled the state doesn’t have jurisdiction over tribal citizens.

Federal prosecutors and Murphy’s defense attorney give their opening statements to the jury Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said Murphy killed George Jacobs in McIntosh County back in 1999. The defense said there is confusion when it comes to the evidence of whether Murphy is the one who killed Jacobs.

A federal affidavit said Murphy admitted he and two other men beat Jacobs and Murphy also admitted to using a knife to mutilate the victim. One of the first witnesses to testify was Patsy Jacobs, who at the time, had dated both Murphy and the victim.

The Muscogee Nation sent News On 6 a statement about the case:

"For the Muscogee Nation, the Murphy and McGirt cases have never been about these individuals or their crimes. Undoubtedly, we celebrate the affirmation of Muscogee sovereignty over our Reservation and are thankful that those cases brought necessary questions before the Supreme Court. But we are also thankful that
Mr. Murphy and Mr. McGirt will go through the federal court system now as they rightfully should, and we look forward to justice being served."