A federal grand jury has indicted a Mayes County man in connection with the 2019 hammer-beating death of his girlfriend.
Harvey Dale Murphy, 39, is charged with first-degree murder in Indian Country in yet another state criminal case that appears to be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision regarding tribal jurisdiction.
Murphy has been facing state charges in Mayes County District Court in connection with the hammer-beating death of Kimmy Jo Stipes, 52.
Mayes County deputies found Stipes dead inside a residence on Oct. 30, 2019. Murphy was arrested the following day.
Those state charges now appear destined for dismissal after the indictment was filed Wednesday in Tulsa federal court.
Hundreds of state criminal cases involving American Indians have been refiled in federal and tribal courts across the state in recent months after higher court rulings since July have determined that the 1860s-era reservations of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole and Muscogee (Creek) nations were never disestablished, meaning the state of Oklahoma has never had jurisdiction to try major criminal cases involving tribal members within those jurisdictions.
The indictment does not indicate Stipes’ tribal affiliation, while it says Murphy is not an American Indian.
McGirt v. Oklahoma: Supreme Court decision and aftermath