Oklahoma seeks new hearing on voided death penalty

By TIM TALLEY Published: July 10, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to overturn a man's murder convictions and death sentences.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that Oklahoma lacked authority to prosecute David Magnan for a 2004 shooting that left three people dead and a fourth injured at a house in rural Seminole County.

The court concluded that the tract of land where the house was located was technically Indian country at the time of the shooting and that the authority to prosecute Magnan rested exclusively with the federal government.

In legal papers filed on June 27, Pruitt's office urged the appeals court to schedule a new hearing in the case and expressed concern that the decision could lead to a variety of practical and legal conflicts between the state and federal governments due to the potential for “checkerboard” jurisdictions.

“Petitioner admits he committed three murders,” the 10-page rehearing request filed by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Crabb says. “Petitioner certainly did not choose the location of the murders based on a belief that he was committing the murders in Indian country. In fact, when the murders were committed, the land had been determined to belong to the jurisdiction of the state.”

Magnan, 50, pleaded guilty in Seminole County District Court to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of shooting with intent to kill. He was sentenced to death on each murder count and received a life sentence on the remaining count.

All the victims of the March 3, 2004, shooting except one were members of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

Magnan, a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, appealed his convictions and sentences, claiming that the incident occurred on Indian land and, therefore, Oklahoma could not prosecute him.

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