Choctaw man’s 2005 murder, kidnapping conviction overturned citing McGirt

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - The conviction has been dropped against a native Choctaw man who murdered another man on Indian territory back in 2005.

Scotty Sheffield and his friend Kevin Cross went to confront a man, Scott Jenson, who was accused of beating his wife, Cross’s cousin.

Cross told Sheffield when the two went to confront him “make it happen for me...he runs from me all the time.”

Sheffield thought it was going to be a confrontation to keep Jenson’s hands off Cross’s cousin. When they confronted Jenson, Sheffield’s family said, Cross chased him with the intention to kill him that day but he got away.

Sheffield didn’t know what the confrontation would entail, his family said, so he went to the police.

“People had been saying bad things will happen if Scotty talked to the police,” said Trina Sheffield, Scotty’s sister.

Sheffield said her brother’s going to the cops made Cross so mad that he made a plan to kill Sheffield instead.

Trina Sheffield said the officer her brother confided that information in told Cross and Gary Olson--Cross’s half brother--where to find him.

Cross had his girlfriend pick Sheffield up and take him to a remote road, which happened to be in Indian territory. When they arrived Cross and his half brother “beat him, shot him, dragged him into the woods and we didn’t see or hear from him for ten days after that,” Trina Sheffield said.

Gary Olson, shot Sheffield the first time, and was charged with accessory to murder and given 48 years. Cross then shot Sheffield again, killing him.

Cross was charged with first degree murder, and actually escaped from the Bryan County Jail on Feb. 11. US Marshall’s and the television show, ‘America’s Most Wanted’, were involved in the search for Cross who was found two weeks after he escaped. He was then transferred to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on escappee and drug charges.

Monday, under the McGirt Supreme Court ruling, the native Choctaw was granted a federal retrial in Sheffield’s case because the state had no jurisdiction to try him because of his native decent and the fact that the murder was committed on Indian territory.

Cross is being held in the Dick Conner Correctional facility and was appointed a public defender out of New Mexico by the federal government.

Trina Sheffield has vowed to go to “every hearing, the state capitol, Supreme Court, whatever to make sure that (Cross) doesn’t get a lesser charge.”

State witnesses will also be retired in the federal trial.

“(The feds and the state need to think about us too,” Sheffield said. “Take the victim’s family into consideration, don’t pick sides just because they’re one race over another.”

For Sheffield’s son, Chance, 15, who wasn’t even born at the time of his father’s murder, there’s only one way for justice to be served.

“I think they went too easy on him,” Sheffield said. “Personally I don’t think people like that should get let out of prison, they need to be on death row or the death penalty.”

News 12 reached out to Cross’s attorney who was appointed on Tuesday and he could not provide a comment at this time. However, he claims the state has been so overwhelmed by the plethora of cases since the McGirt ruling they’ve had to look elsewhere, outside of the state, for public defenders to pick up the cases.

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