Photo caption: Jeremy and Tyler Reese. Courtesy Photo
At least for now, the Osage County District Attorney’s Office will not be recused in the murder proceedings against two brothers accused of killing a Pawhuska oilman.
At a Feb. 20 status conference, attorneys for Jeremy and Tyler Reece declined to seek a motion asking Osage County DA Mike Fisher and his staff to step away from prosecution efforts due to a potential conflict of interest.
Tyler Reece’s former attorney, Rod Ramsey, now works in the Osage County DA’s office. However, after an extended recess to allow an in-person consultation with the brothers at the Osage County Courthouse, attorneys with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System agreed that they would not ask for a recusal as long as Ramsey is not involved in the prosecution’s case discussions or preparation efforts.
The Reeces have been held in custody for more than three years in connection with the September 2015 death of Rick Holt, whose body was found on restricted Indian land northwest of Hominy with bullet wounds to the neck, shoulders and head.
The Reece brothers are citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Holt’s body was found on Osage land, thus opening the door for proceedings in federal or tribal court under the Major Crimes Act.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not filed charges in the case, but previous court filings have indicated that federal prosecutors in Tulsa have launched an independent investigation into the case and have begun obtaining warrants for information.
During the Feb. 20 status conference, defense attorney Gretchen Moseley indicated that her client, Tyler Reese, has testified before a federal grand jury that the brothers delivered the kill shot on Indian land. State prosecutors have maintained that Holt was instead killed on his personal property, which would keep the case out of the federal court system and into Oklahoma’s.
“I don’t think there’s evidence to support the argument that it (the lethal shot) happened on Holt’s property,” she said.
Despite requests from Fisher to go on ahead and schedule a preliminary hearing, an additional status conference is set for 10 a.m. on March 27.
The brothers face one count each of first degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder. Tyler Reece faces a fourth count of desecrating a corpse.
Under Oklahoma statute, each brother could receive up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 for conspiracy to commit murder if found guilty, plus up to 20 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping.
The Osage Nation filed first degree homicide charges in May 2016 to ensure the brothers remained in custody after the state of Oklahoma missed an appeal deadline.
If convicted in tribal court, the brothers could face up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and banishment from Osage lands for 20 years.