Defendant Faces Federal Charges for the 2015 Murder of Sapulpa Man
A man convicted in Creek County for a murder that occurred during a 2015 robbery was charged in federal court, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. The defendant’s state conviction was dismissed today by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for lack of jurisdiction.
Arnold Dean Howell Jr., 27, was charged by criminal complaint with murder in the first degree in Indian Country.
Because Howell is an enrolled tribal member and the crime occurred within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation, the state conviction was vacated and ordered dismissed.
According to federal court documents, Howell and his sister Katherine Freeman, conspired to rob the victim at his home in Sapulpa. Investigators allege that during the robbery, Freeman held the victim at gunpoint with one of the victim’s rifles then Howell directed her to get a knife from the kitchen. He is alleged to have repeatedly stabbed the victim. When the knife broke, another was retrieved, and Howell continued his attack causing the victim’s death. Howell and Freemen stole, among other things, the victim’s vehicle, wallet, watch, two rifles, and laptop.
The victim was found deceased the next day during a welfare check, and his vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Tulsa.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Sapulpa Police Department and FBI are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cymetra M. Williams and Christopher M. Kelly are prosecuting the case.
This matter will proceed in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, where the criminal complaint is currently pending. A complaint is a temporary charge alleging a violation of law. For the case to proceed to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal grand jury within 30 days. Once a grand jury returns an indictment, a defendant has a right to a jury trial at which the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.