Okla. asks court to reconsider overturned murder conviction in tribal dispute

April 1 (UPI) -- Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has asked a state appeals court to reconsider its ruling overturning the conviction of a death row inmate on tribal jurisdiction grounds.

Hunter filed a motion Thursday asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to rehear Shaun Bosse's case.


He was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 2010 for the deaths of his girlfriend, Katrina Griffin, and her two children, Christian Griffin and Chasity. The conviction was overturned earlier this year after the Supreme Court ruled that state courts don't have jurisdiction over crimes that happen on tribal land and involve tribal members.

Griffin and her children were members of the Chickasaw Nation and their slayings happened on tribal lands.

The Supreme Court decision doesn't mean Bosse will walk free, though. Rather, it means he must be prosecuted under the Major Crimes Act. Only federal prosecutors can bring a case in crimes committed by or against American Indians on reservation land.

Hunter said the case, though, should be reheard in state court because Boose isn't an American Indian.

"This is about fighting to ensure justice for victims of not only the brutal crimes committed by Shaun Bosse, but also those being revictimized by fallout from the McGirt ruling," he said. "We continue to believe the state has jurisdiction over non-Native Americans on tribal reservation lands, even if the federal government also has jurisdiction. Exclusive federal jurisdiction only applies to Native Americans."


The Chickasaw Nation filed a brief Wednesday saying it supports the continued prosecution of Bosse for the slayings.

"We grieve for the family of Mr. Bosse's victims," the tribe said in a document shared with KTEN-TV in Ada, Okla. "At the same time, our unequivocal view is that the court's opinion is correct.

"What is more, we are dedicated to the fulfillment of our rights and responsibilities as a sovereign tribal government with jurisdiction over the Chickasaw Reservation in accord with federal law."

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