Case against alleged serial robber in Tulsa dismissed in continued fallout over SCOTUS ruling

State prosecutors to dismiss case against robbery suspect because of recent McGirt ruling, now goes to federal or tribal court

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa police say state prosecutors will have to dismiss a case against a serial robbery suspect who was about to plea to a 20-year prison sentence in state court.

Justus Murphy is Native American and the crimes he reportedly committed happened on tribal land, so legally that means Murphy would have to be charged in federal or tribal court.

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Murphy is accused of robbing four checking cashing businesses last winter.

Police say Murphy also pointed a gun at and tried to run over a security guard who was trying to stop him from stealing from an east Tulsa auto parts store.

He was charged with 14 state felonies.

Tulsa police robbery detectives say they spent hundreds of hours on the case, but now will have to do most of the work again if federal prosecutors decide to charge Murphy -- starting from scratch as if the state charges never even happened.

If they don’t, Murphy will be set free.

July 28, 2020 - Police say Justus Murphy could go free as the state hands over its case against him to federal authorities.
July 28, 2020 - Police say Justus Murphy could go free as the state hands over its case against him to federal authorities. (Tulsa County Jail)

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says he had a virtual meeting with federal prosecutors and the attorney general on Tuesday, as they are still trying to figure out all the details and how they can make the transition as smooth as possible.

Kunzweiler says he isn’t sure how many cases will be affected at this time, but he said it will be “a healthy chunk”.

In Tulsa County, they’ve assigned one judge to have now have a Mcgirt docket. Her sole job will be to handle the pending or open cases that may have been affected by the ruling.