Community , Legal

Reece brothers court case postponed yet again

Photo Caption: Jeremy and Tyler Reece.

The preliminary hearing for two brothers accused of killing a Pawhuska oilman has been postponed yet again.

According to court documents, the preliminary hearing for Jeremy and Tyler Reece scheduled for Feb. 19-20 in Osage County District Court has been converted to a status conference at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 at the agreement of all the attorneys involved.

The Reeces have been held in custody for more than three years in connection with the September 2015 death of Rick Holt, whose body was found on restricted Indian land northwest of Hominy with bullet wounds to the neck, shoulders and head.

This marks the fourth postponement within the last year for the brothers’ preliminary hearing.

The Reece brothers are citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Holt’s body was found on Osage land, thus opening the door for proceedings in federal or tribal court under the Major Crimes Act.

To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has not filed charges in the case, although previous court filings have indicated that federal prosecutors in Tulsa have launched an independent investigation into the case and have begun obtaining warrants for information. The brothers waived their right to a speedy trial in April.

The state of Oklahoma’s authority in the proceedings hinges on where the kill shot was delivered, which remains a point of contention. Osage County prosecutors maintain that the lethal blow was administered in Holt’s yard, thus giving the state the authority to charge the pair with murder.

The brothers face one count each of first degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder. Tyler Reece faces a fourth count of desecrating a corpse. 

Under Oklahoma statute, each brother could receive up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 for conspiracy to commit murder if found guilty, plus up to 20 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping.

The Osage Nation filed first degree homicide charges in May 2016 to ensure the brothers remained in custody after the state of Oklahoma missed an appeal deadline.

If convicted in tribal court, the brothers could face up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and banishment from Osage lands for 20 years.