A federal appeals court overturned the death sentence of a confessed murderer on Friday because he killed two women and one man on Indian land where the Oklahoma authorities have no jurisdiction.
David Magnan, 50, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of shooting with intent to kill back in March 2004. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Now the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out his convictions after judges ruled 3-0 that the authorities had no jurisdiction. The court ordered Magnan be released from state custody, but he is still being held “because jurisdiction over Magnan's crimes rests exclusively with the United States, rather than the state of Oklahoma,” according to the NewsOK.
In a 36-page ruling, the judges said: “Given the nature of the crimes and Magnan's admitted guilt, we presume that federal authorities will arrest and try Magnan following his release from state custody.”
After serving 10 years on death row at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, he will not be released until the court issues a mandate.
Magnan is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. He confessed to murdering tribesmen Lucilla McGirt, Karen Wolf and James Howard in their rural home over an ongoing family dispute.