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State court rejects McGirt-based appeal by death row inmate convicted in Owasso triple murder
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State court rejects McGirt-based appeal by death row inmate convicted in Owasso triple murder

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A state appellate court on Thursday rejected the appeal of a death-row inmate convicted in a 2005 Owasso triple murder.

At a Tulsa County trial in 2008, Clarence Rozell Goode Jr. had received three death sentences for the shooting deaths of Kayla Burchett, 10, a Collinsville fifth-grader; her mother, Tara Burchett-Thompson, 25; and Burchett-Thompson’s husband, Mitch Thompson, 28. Their bodies were found Aug. 26, 2005, at the slain couple’s Owasso home.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Goode’s third subsequent application for post-conviction relief, finding that it did not qualify for relief under its interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling dealing with state criminal jurisdiction over Native Americans.

Goode claimed in his appeal that Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction to prosecute him under the McGirt ruling because he is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and the crimes occurred within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation.

But the appellate court rejected his application, citing its prior ruling in another case that McGirt would not be retroactively applied to void a state conviction that was already final when the landmark decision was announced in July 2020.

In April, a federal grand jury named Goode in a seven-count indictment that included three counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The charges were filed based on the likelihood at the time that his state murder convictions would be vacated based upon the McGirt ruling.

A federal judge in September dismissed the charges against Goode at the request of prosecutors, who cited the state appellate court’s ruling on retroactive cases.

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