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Press Release

Defendant Convicted of Three Counts of Murder in Indian Country

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Today, a man was convicted of three counts of murder in Indian country after a week-long jury trial, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Mark F. Green of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.      

David Brian Magnan, 53, was convicted in the shooting deaths of three victims, James Howard, Karen Wolf and Lucilla McGirt, who were all members of the Seminole Nation.  U.S. District Court Judge Ronald A. White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma presided over the trial.   

The evidence presented at trial established that the victims were celebrating a birthday on the evening of March 1, 2004, at Howard’s home.  In the early morning hours of March 2, 2004, Magnan arrived at the home with two other men.  Armed with a pistol, Magnan confronted an individual outside of the house and a fight ensued, after which Magnan shot the individual in the abdomen.  Magnan then entered the home where he found the three victims asleep.  He first confronted Howard, who he shot multiple times in the chest as he lay in bed.  Magnan then moved to a bedroom where he found McGirt and Wolf sleeping.  Magnan shot Wolf in the head and shot McGirt in the shoulder and head.  McGirt survived that evening and identified Magnan as the shooter, but she ultimately succumbed to her wounds and died two weeks later.  Following the shootings, Magnan and the two other men fled the scene and hid the murder weapon, which police subsequently recovered.   

This case was investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police and the FBI.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mike Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Snow of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.  Trial Attorney Richard Friedman of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section handled an interlocutory appeal. 

Updated November 10, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 15-1344