Tulsa County Murder Case Dismissed due to Supreme Court Decision


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  suz  •  6 days ago  •  10 comments

By:   News on 6

Tulsa County Murder Case Dismissed due to Supreme Court Decision
"Murder in Indian Country"

Victims families will suffer because of the Supreme Courts' decision.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

TULSA, Okla. -

A Tulsa man who already pleaded guilty to strangling his wife to death will now have his case moved to federal court because of the recent McGirt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The victim's family had to cancel their flights to Oklahoma after they had plans to be in court for Brandon Smith’s sentencing, which would have been two weeks ago. 

Smith is being held in the Tulsa County Jail, now facing a new murder charge in federal court. 

P rosecutors said Smith called 911 and admitted to strangling his wife, Cynthia Mayfield , at a home near 5th and Utica in March of 2019. 

He was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January. 

After the McGirt ruling came down from the Supreme Court, Smith's attorney argued the crime scene is part of the Creek Nation Reservation. 

Smith is also a member of the Cherokee Nation, so a Tulsa County judge had to dismiss the case. 

"This is a classic example of what that decision's done and how it's gonna play out in a lot of other cases,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said. 

Cynthia was a mother of four and has a family in California. They were expecting to be in Tulsa two weeks ago for Smith’s sentencing, which was also pushed back because of COVID-19. 

Director of the Victim Witness Center Heather Prater said they’ve been working with the family since the beginning of the case.

"They were ready to have their victim impact statement, have their day in court, to talk about the victim and kind of talk about how it's impacted their lives, to only be told, don't come here from another state, but also that's not gonna happen, anytime soon,” Prater said.   

Smith's case is now in federal court, with a new charge of "Murder in Indian Country." 

"When you've done all those steps, and you get to the last step, to be told, that that's not the last step -- it's heartbreaking,” Prater said. 

U.S. Attorney Trent Shores tweeted Friday about his office taking over the case, saying in part, "Justice will be served."


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  Suz    6 days ago

I waited to see how this would affect other cases.  It isn't good.

2  JBB    6 days ago

The Native Authority over all of their Eastern Oklahoma reservations was promised by the United States to be, "For as long as the wind blows, the grass grows and the river flows". And that, my pardners, is a damn long time indeed...

2.1  seeder  Suz  replied to  JBB @2    6 days ago

I'm well aware of it.

2.1.1  JBB  replied to  Suz @2.1    6 days ago

My understanding is that the court only affirmed that per a still operational treaty it is the Tribal Court's authority to try cases wherein the defendant is a Native and the crime occurred on tribal reservation land. So, it does not mean that Native criminal defendants are not accountable in Eastern Oklahoma but rather that in these specific cases it is the tribal courts and not OK state courts which have the jurisdiction...

2.1.2  Kavika   replied to  JBB @2.1.1    6 days ago

This case is part of the Major Crimes Act (manslaughter) and all crimes that are listed in the act by a Native on tribal land will be tried in Federal Court, not a tribal court. 

2.1.3  JBB  replied to  Kavika @2.1.2    6 days ago

You know more than I. My main point was that the cases involved will transfer courts and that the ruling does not mean defendants will get off without any legal consequences...

2.1.4  Kavika   replied to  JBB @2.1.3    6 days ago

The defendants will not get off. They will face the same charges in federal court instead of state courts. 

2.1.5  seeder  Suz  replied to  Kavika @2.1.4    6 days ago

That calms my heart.  Thank you.

2.1.6  seeder  Suz  replied to  JBB @2.1.1    6 days ago

Thank you JBB and Kavika for stopping by to assure me that everything will be A-OK. 

I'll have to ask the Tulsa World and the DAs office not to play into the hands of the criminals and to address the same issues I had with this particular case.

Again, thank you both. 

Sean Treacy
3  Sean Treacy    6 days ago

Real world implications.


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