A Tulsa man has been charged with murder in the first degree in Indian Country after he allegedly shot and killed a woman in Philpott Park on July 10, 2020.
According to a Criminal Complaint, James Michael Landry, 29, committed the crime on the Creek Nation reservation. The victim was an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is pursuing this case consistent with our new responsibilities following the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The cooperation among tribal, local, state, and federal law enforcement is as strong as ever in northeastern Oklahoma. In this case, investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tulsa Police Department, and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse were on the scene and working together. 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. As always, we will seek to hold accountable criminal wrongdoers and pursue justice for victims in United States District Court.”
According to the Criminal Complaint and affidavit, Tulsa police officers and emergency personnel arrived at Philpott Park in response to a 911 call. The caller stated that a man had requested help because his girlfriend was going to die. At the scene, first responders observed James Michael Landry, 29, standing over a woman lying on the ground. Because Landry was making conflicting statements and acting strange he was put in investigative detention. Upon processing the scene, the medical examiner discovered what appeared to be a shotgun wound to the head. Detectives located a double barrel shotgun hidden under sticks next to a tree near the crime scene. During an interview with police, Landry allegedly admitted that the shotgun belonged to him and that he had pointed it at the victim on days prior to the crime as well as the day of the crime. He also allegedly claimed that the victim put the gun in her own mouth on the day of the crime as he held the firearm and they argued. He claimed the gun was fired unintentionally.
A Criminal Complaint is a temporary charge alleging a violation of law. For the case to proceed to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal Grand Jury within 30 days. Once a Grand Jury returns an Indictment, a defendant has a right to a jury trial at which the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges were filed today in federal court due to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the case of McGirt v. Oklahoma. As a result of the Court’s ruling, all major crimes occurring on the Creek Nation reservation and involving Native American defendants and/or victims are required, by law, to be tried in federal court.
Landry was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. CDT on July 16.
The FBI, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police Department and Tulsa Police Department are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Roberts is prosecuting the case.