A March 11 decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reverses the district court guilty verdict and death sentence for mass murderer Shaun Bosse.
That decision will not take effect for 20 days, the court also ruled.
A McClain County jury convicted Bosse, 38, in late 2012 in the heinous 2010 slayings of a Dibble woman and her two young children.
Katrina Griffin and her 6-year-old son, Christian Griffin, were stabbed numerous times.
Bosse then closed Griffin’s 4-year-old daughter, Chasity Hammer, in a closet, wedging the door shut before setting the family’s mobile home on fire.
He was sentenced to die on the three counts of first-degree murder and also drew a 35-year prison term and $25,000 fine for first-degree arson.
Bosse’s conviction and death penalty have been in limbo since the fall of 2020.
That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a separate case that the state has no jurisdiction when the victims are Native American and the crime occurs on Indian land.
Griffin and her children were members of the Chickasaw Nation and they were killed on reservation land given by treaty to the Chickasaws in the 1800s.
Bosse’s attorneys maintained – and the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed – that the state lacked jurisdiction because Congress never formally ended that treaty.
Griffin met Bosse who was from Blanchard online and began a relationship.
Bosse murdered the family to cover up his theft of a computer, Play Station video game system and movies belonging to Griffin and her son.
His conviction and sentence was upheld on his first appeal.Then after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling about prosecution of crimes involving Native Americans, Bosse’s attorneys changed tack and argued the state had no jurisdiction in the case.
That ruling means that two-thirds of the state is still Indian reservation land and calls into question every criminal case since statehood, District Attorney Greg Mashburn said last fall.
He has been in contact with federal prosecutors since the fall.
Mashburn said at the time that Bosse is a serial killer, adding it was Bosse’s attorneys who pinned that label on their client during his trial in McClain County.
Hoping to save Bosse from the death penalty, they said Bosse would confess to two previous murders if Mashburn would take the death penalty off the table.
Mashburn declined the offer.