Community , Legal

Jeremy Reece pleads guilty to the death of Rick Holt

Photo caption: Jeremy Reece entered a guilty plea in the Northern District of Oklahoma on Feb. 6. Osage News

TULSA, Okla. — A Pawhuska resident has pleaded guilty in federal court to the September 2015 death of Rick Holt.

On Feb. 6, Jeremy Reece entered a guilty plea in the Northern District of Oklahoma. According to court documents, Reece admitted to Chief District Judge John Dowdell that he took Holt from his house, shot him three times on restricted Osage land, dug a shallow grave for the body and set Holt’s corpse on fire.

Pending judicial approval, Reece will receive a 45-year prison sentence in exchange for dropping the pending state murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder charges in the case that have been pending since 2015.

“Heinous acts such as those committed by Reece will not go unpunished in the Northern District of Oklahoma,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said. “This United States Attorney’s Office takes seriously its special trust responsibility to prosecute violent crimes in Indian Country,”

Along with his brother Tyler, Jeremy Reece has been in custody for more than four years in connection with Holt’s death, whose body was found on restricted Indian land northwest of Hominy with bullet wounds to the neck, shoulders and head.

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.

The murder case was originally filed in state court. However, in 2017 after a ruling at the district court level that the state did not have jurisdiction to prosecute the case, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued a ruling staying the case until jurisdictional issues were resolved.

Jeremy Reece is scheduled to be formally sentenced at 10 a.m. on May 6. Until then, he remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.

Tyler Reece is still in state custody in the Osage County Jail in connection with Holt’s death and is scheduled to be back in Osage County District Court on related charges on April 17. According to Jeremy Reece’s court statement, Tyler Reece helped kidnap Holt and dig the shallow grave, but did not administer the kill shot.