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Press Release

Man Pleads Guilty to 2017 Claremore Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

 A  Claremore man pleaded guilty today in federal court to a 2017 murder, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

Michael Eugene Spears, 58, pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree.

“Defendant Michael Spears brutally took Mark McKinney’s life then planned to dispose of the victim’s body in a lake. Thankfully, someone reported the murder before he could hide his terrible crime,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Helping to ensure Spears’ conviction in federal court were a team of dedicated federal prosecutors, FBI agents, and officers with the Claremore Police Department.”

In his plea agreement, Spears admitted to stabbing the victim, Mark McKinney, multiple times with a machete, killing him. The murder occurred during an argument between the two men on Nov. 18, 2017.

Sometime after the murder, Spears told a relative what had happened and asked to borrow a truck to transport the victim’s body to a lake in an effort to hide his crime. Law enforcement was contacted the next morning.

Authorities discovered the victim with multiple stab wounds to his hands, neck and torso. According to the medical examiner’s report, the victim suffered wounds to his heart and both lungs during the stabbing. In addition, there was blunt force trauma to the victim’s head and body.

Spears had previously been convicted of first degree murder in Rogers County District Court. Because the defendant is a tribal citizen and the crime occurred within the Cherokee Nation reservation, his state conviction was overturned, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.

The FBI and Claremore Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas E. Duncombe and Justin G. Bish are prosecuting the case


Public Affairs

Updated April 1, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime