A man who has spent nearly half his life in prison now faces federal first-degree murder charges after his state conviction was dismissed due to jurisdictional issues.
A first-degree murder charge against Renel Anthony Brewer, 41, was unsealed Thursday in Tulsa federal court, records show.
Brewer is accused of shooting 16-year-old Courtland Kincaid Griffin on Jan. 26, 1999, while Griffin sat in a car outside a house in the 3100 block of North Kenosha Avenue in Tulsa, according to court records and Tulsa World archives.
Griffin died the following day at a hospital. Another teenager in the car with Griffin survived being shot but was paralyzed.
Police at the time described the shooting as gang-related and in retribution for an earlier shooting.
Brewer’s case is among hundreds that are being retried in Oklahoma federal courts after the U.S. Supreme Court and state courts ruled since last summer that the state of Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction to try cases involving American Indians in much of the eastern half of the state because Congress never disestablished the reservations of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations.
A state court judge on Tuesday dismissed Brewer’s life sentence in state prison and consecutive 100-year prison term after determining that his case met the criteria under the Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling.
Brewer is a member of Cherokee Nation, and the fatal shooting occurred within the boundaries of the Cherokee reservation, according to court records.
Brewer blamed the shootings on his co-defendant, Brandon Haywood Payne III, who was sentenced to life without parole plus 100 years.
Brewer made an initial appearance Thursday in his federal case and consented to be detained without bond pending further proceedings.
He is currently in the Tulsa County jail, records show.