TULSA, Okla. — A man accused in the shotgun slaying of a Native American woman in Tulsa was charged with murder in federal court Monday in line with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Federal prosecutors charged James Michael Landry, 29, with first-degree murder for the killing of his girlfriend, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation identified in court documents only by her initials, C.B.
The federal prosecutor’s office is pursuing the case consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that state prosecutors lack authority in criminal cases on Indian land in which the suspect or victim are tribal citizens, said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
“In this case and others that may now fall under federal jurisdiction, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will uphold its trust responsibility in the public safety arena,” Shores said in a statement.
Authorities who arrived at Philpott Park in Tulsa on Friday to an emergency call of a woman in need of assistance observed Landry standing over the body of a woman who had been shot in the head, according to a court affidavit. A shotgun was found nearby.
Landry admitted to detectives that he was holding the gun when it discharged, but said the shooting was unintentional, the affidavit said. A message left Monday with the federal public defender’s office in Tulsa seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.
Landry is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
The Associated Press