Two men now face federal murder charges after their state prosecutions were sidetracked by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling.
Johnny Lee Arnold, 33, and Dale Eugene Warren, 64, were both charged by federal criminal complaint Wednesday with first-degree murder in Indian Country in connection with the August 2019 Craig County stabbing death of Christopher Boren, 28.
The two had been charged in state court with first-degree murder before the federal charges were filed.
The McGirt ruling, which found that the Muscogee Nation reservation had never been disestablished, means crimes involving American Indians within much of eastern Oklahoma are not the jurisdiction of the state but rather federal or tribal authorities.
Boren was a member of the Cherokee Nation, according to the complaint.
Since the Supreme Court ruling last summer, federal and tribal officials have kept busy filing charges against individuals whose cases were dismissed in state court due to the ruling.
Boren’s body was found Aug. 12, 2019, west of Ketchum and north of Pensacola just north of the Mayes County line, according to Tulsa World archives.
Arnold and Warren were arrested about two weeks after Boren’s body was discovered.
The criminal complaint alleges that Arnold stabbed Boren with a knife near where his body was later found.
“Arnold continued to stab Boren in the side and back,” the complaint says. “Boren ran from Arnold and Arnold chased Boren up the road. Arnold returned to the truck and Boren was left on the side of the road.”
An affidavit submitted in support of an arrest warrant for Warren notes that he changed his story at least once while being questioned about the murder.
Warren claimed that he yelled at the other two men at some point to stop fighting. He claimed that he later tried to call the authorities but that the phone at his home was dead.