TULSA, Okla. – For the first time since the Supreme Court’s Castro-Huerta ruling, the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said it was able to ensure a criminal remained behind bars.
The Castro-Huerta decision reverses part of the McGirt decision and allows non-tribal members who commit crimes against tribal members on tribal lands to be prosecuted by the state.
In 2017, police said four suspects attempted to steal Jeannie Blalock’s car from the Sawmill Apartment Complex. She had just returned from work as Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray said the four suspects were wrapping up a crime-filled night.
“They were breaking into cars and stealing things by the end of the night, they decided they needed a car,” Gray said.
Blalock was killed to get the car they wanted, according to Gray.
“When she got out of her car, two young men, Miller and Harring, confronted her at gunpoint. She threw water in their faces and Miller fired once and killed her. “Gray explained.
Jaydon Harring didn’t pull the trigger, but he was there with the others. All four pleaded guilty between 2017 and 2018 and received sentences. Harring went to the young offender program, but then the McGirt decision of 2020 happened.
Harring’s attorney asked that his case be dismissed, but Gray says he and the prosecutor’s office asked the judge in January to wait for the Castro-Huerta ruling. Once that happened on July 1, Gray filed an objection to Harring’s motion to dismiss and on July 7, Harring’s attorney acknowledged the Castro-Huerta decision and withdrew his motion to dismiss knowing that the State now has the right to prosecute non-tribal members who commit crimes against tribal members on tribal land.
This relieves Blalock’s family.
“Over the past few years they have been concerned, especially as McGirt very likely one or both of the people responsible for their mother’s death, grandma would not be held responsible, that is their concern” , did he declare.
Gray says it was the first time in Tulsa County where last week’s new Supreme Court ruling reversing part of McGirt helped the state hold non-tribal offenders accountable for crimes against tribal members on tribal land.
“There are going to be a number of cases that because of McGirt, but were in this particular situation, because he was a non-tribal offender and a tribal victim, we had to dismiss or deny because of McGirt , there are probably a number of them. we will reconsider,” Gray said.
Gray says the DA’s office will work with tribal partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to figure out which cases should be referred to them or reconsider ongoing cases that should be prosecuted by the state.
©2022 Cox Media Group