Murphy guilty of second degree murder | New
Jurors have found a McIntosh County man whose murder conviction in the state was overturned last year by the United States Supreme Court on jurisdictional grounds guilty of three felonies filed in federal court.
Patrick Dwayne Murphy, 52, who during his testimony Wednesday denied any involvement in the death of George Jacobs in 1999, was acquitted of first degree murder. Jurors, however, found him guilty of the lesser and included offense of second degree murder, a charge that requires no proof or finding of premeditation.
Jurors found evidence presented by prosecutors sufficient to convict Murphy of murder in the commission of a kidnapping in Indian country and kidnapping resulting in death. After deliberating for about four and a half hours, jurors acquitted Murphy of kidnapping an eyewitness.
Murphy was convicted in 2000 of first degree murder by the McIntosh County District Court for the death of Jacobs, whose beaten and mutilated body was found in a ditch along a rural road. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeal upheld Murphy’s conviction and death sentence in 2002.
His conviction and sentence was the first in Oklahoma to be overturned by a federal appeals court on jurisdictional grounds following a finding that the Muscogee Nation reserve exists today as it did when it did. ‘it was granted by treaty in the 1860s. The 10th US Court of Appeals ruled in 2017 that Congress had taken no action to overturn the reservation.
Since Murphy and Jacobs were both registered members of the Muscogee Nation and the alleged crime took place in the Indian country, charges should have been laid against Murphy in federal court under Major Crime Law.
The United States Supreme Court came to the same conclusion in 2020 when it rendered a 5-4 decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, a decision that upheld Murphy’s conviction and sentence overturned.
Following this week’s trial, acting US attorney Christopher Wilson said the jurisdictional challenges could have “interrupted” justice, which it “was not thwarted”.
“I am grateful that Patrick Murphy was held responsible for the vicious murder of George Jacobs,” Wilson said in a press release. “I know it has been a tumultuous time for Mr. Jacobs’ family, but they can now be assured that the accused will pay for his crimes.”
Murphy, who testified Wednesday, said he was driving with two other men when they arrested Jacobs and another man in a rural area in northwest McIntosh County. Murphy said Billy Jack Long and Kevin King pulled Jacobs out of the car and beat him to death.
Federal prosecutors presented evidence during the three-day trial, including the testimony of eyewitness Mark Sumka, who has also been identified as a kidnapping victim. Sumka told jurors during his testimony on Wednesday that he “could have left” at any time while walking with Murphy and two other people after Jacobs’ death.
Defense attorney David B. Autry looked into Sumka’s testimony and inconsistencies in the testimony of other witnesses in an attempt to discredit the government’s case. He said that the “uncertainty” of some testimonies about events that took place nearly 22 years ago cast “doubts” on the credibility of their statements.
“Everyone on that scene was drunk – dead drunk – and the alleged eyewitness saw Patrick Murphy doing nothing,” Autry said during closing argument. “And think of these so-called confession witnesses …, how they contradict each other.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Reeves reminded jurors Sumka told them “he ran away” when Jacobs was beaten. Sumka said on his return to the scene, he saw Murphy holding a knife and then throwing the knife.
During the prosecution’s closing argument, Reeves pointed to comments Murphy allegedly made while bragging to others about Jacobs’ death.
“He finally eliminated the guy he said he wanted to kill,” Reeves said, referring to testimony.
Dr. Ronald Distefano, an expert witness and former medical examiner, presented photographs of Jacobs’ beaten body during his testimony on Wednesday, which the defense tried to exclude from the trial. The photographs showed a swollen, bruised and lacerated face, and knife cuts to Jacobs ‘throat and upper abdomen – Distefano provided only a description of Jacobs’ severed genitals.
Distefano said Jacobs died from blood loss from blunt and cutting trauma.
A sentencing hearing will be conducted following a pre-sentence investigation and a report. Murphy remains in the custody of the US Marshal Service.