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Press Release

Defendant Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2004 Triple Murder in Indian Country

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A defendant was sentenced today in the Eastern District of Oklahoma to three consecutive terms of life in prison for the murder of three people in March 2004 in Indian Country, 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.

“More than a decade after committing three brutal murders, the defendant has been held to account for his crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “After waiting many years for some closure, I hope the families of the defendant’s victims take some solace in today’s sentences.”

“Twelve years have passed since these three innocent victims were brutally murdered,” said U.S. Attorney Green.  “This case has traveled through many courts, both state and federal.  Finally, today there can be closure for these families.  I sincerely thank the prosecution team for a job well done!”

On Oct. 29, 2015, David Brian Magnan, 53, was convicted after a jury trial in the shooting deaths of three victims, James Howard, Karen Wolf and Lucilla McGirt, who were members of the Seminole Nation.  U.S. District Court Judge Ronald A. White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma presided over the trial and imposed today’s sentence.  Magnan was sentenced to an additional 36 months to run consecutive to the life sentences for his probation being revoked on a prior federal arson conviction.   

The evidence presented at trial established that in the early morning hours of March 2, 2004, Magnan arrived with two other men at Howard’s home, where the victims had celebrated a birthday the prior evening.  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 succumbed to her wounds two weeks later.  Following the shootings, Magnan and the two other men fled the scene and hid the murder weapon, which police subsequently recovered.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police and the FBI investigated the case.  Senior Trial Attorney Michael 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 prosecuted the case.    

Updated August 10, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-583