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Federal jury finds man at center of landmark Supreme Court ruling guilty in retrial

Federal jury finds man at center of landmark Supreme Court ruling guilty in retrial


MUSKOGEE — A jury deliberated about an hour Friday before finding Jimcy McGirt guilty again of sexually molesting a 4-year-old girl in 1996 at a Broken Arrow home.

The guilty verdict follows three days of testimony in Muskogee federal court.

McGirt, 72, was retried after the U.S. Supreme Court in July threw out his 1997 state convictions and no parole life sentence.

An attorney for McGirt said an appeal was planned.

The Supreme Court in its July decision found that major crimes committed within the 1860s-era boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation that involve an American Indian were within federal and not state jurisdiction.

Both McGirt and the victim are members of the Seminole Nation tribe and the offense occurred in Broken Arrow, which is within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation.

The prosecution’s case relied largely upon the testimony of the victim, her mother and her grandmother.

The victim, now 28, testified Wednesday that McGirt sexually molested her three times while she was staying with her grandmother and McGirt, who was married to the grandmother.

“It’s really simple,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah McAmis, during her closing argument Friday. “If you believe (the victim) then the defendant is guilty.”

McGirt’s defense rested in part on sowing doubt about the testimony of the victim and her relatives.

Attorneys for McGirt called the uncle of the victim Friday to testify about a dresser that other family members claimed contained a letter sent by McGirt to his wife at the time.

The victim testified earlier that she found the letter in a dresser in her mom’s bedroom. She claimed McGirt, in the letter, wrote that “the devil made him do it.”

The victim’s grandmother said her son took the letter when he removed all the items out of her home a few years ago.

But the grandmother’s son testified Friday that he never took any letters and that he gave his mother the key to the storage locker after he moved her items to it.

Joe White, an attorney representing McGirt, attacked the credibility of the victim and family members who testified for the government, during his closing argument.

“They got up on that witness stand and they cried, or acted like they were crying” because, White said, “they are trying to get your sympathy.”

“There is no way the government proved he did anything,” White said.

During his closing argument, White hammered home his contention that McGirt “had a target on his back” from relatives after he married the grandmother of the victim.

Trial testimony indicated that McGirt didn’t get along with his wife’s relatives.

U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester said after the trial that the victim had “great courage … by once again reliving the horrific acts of the defendant.”

“She testified as a child, and now 24 years later she relived it again as she told her story to the jury,” Kuester said. “That takes a tremendous amount of courage and was most certainly an emotional strain on her to say the least.”

Richard O’Carroll, who is also representing McGirt, said afterwards that he wasn’t sure if McGirt received a fair trial, when asked by the Tulsa World.

“I don’t know,” O’Carroll said. “I never second guess a jury.”

He said the case might be the weakest case, evidence wise, with which he has ever been involved.

An appeal is planned, he said.

“We will appeal until the last dog is dead,” O’Carroll said.

McGirt’s sentencing date is pending.

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