An inmate serving life in prison without parole in the 1995 beating death of a fellow inmate has been charged in federal court with the same crime in another case brought on by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling.
A grand jury charged Kevin Boyd White, 62, in Tulsa federal court on Monday with one count of first-degree murder in Indian Country in connection with the beating death of Donald Iwanski, 28, according to court records.
The indictment alleges that White repeatedly beat Iwanski with a metal pipe on Feb. 4, 1995.
Tulsa World archives indicate that White and Iwanski were both inmates at the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center in Vinita at the time. White reportedly was mad at Iwanski because he owed him money.
Iwanski was serving a 10-year prison term for Sequoyah County bogus check and grand larceny convictions when he was attacked while sleeping in his dormitory bed.
At the time, White was serving a 20-year prison term after being convicted in Oklahoma County of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
The most recent charge follows White’s filing of court papers in Craig County District Court in an effort to have his state conviction overturned based on the McGirt precedent.
In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July that the state of Oklahoma does not have jurisdiction to charge American Indians with major crimes that occurred within the historical boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.
The ruling has since been expanded to include the Cherokee Nation reservation and three others — the Choctaw Nation, the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation.
White, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, claimed in an October filing that since the inmate death occurred within the Cherokee Nation, the state of Oklahoma did not have the jurisdiction in the 1990s to try him for murder.
White’s challenge of his state conviction is still pending in Craig County District Court. Federal officials have been filing charges against some defendants before their state convictions are overturned to ensure that inmates are not released once that happens.