Defense lawyers for a man charged with murder after selling drugs to a woman who overdosed in Perkins are now arguing it should be under tribal jurisdiction.
Noah Montague was charged with first degree murder in Tulsa County after police alleged he sold drugs to a woman from Perkins who subsequently overdosed.
In July 2020, the case was transferred to Payne County because victim Jamie Bear, an Indigenous woman, died in Perkins, not Tulsa.
James Ramos, the man who was dating Bear, has also been charged in the case. He was charged with second degree murder or the alternative of first degree manslaughter.
On December 7, Montague’s attorney, Zach Smith, filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the fact that Bear died in Perkins does not mean this is the appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution.
“The fact that Jamie Bear died in Payne County does not allow the state of Oklahoma to choose the counties in which to sue Noah Montague,” the motion declared to be dismissed. “Since this is nothing like an abduction that occurs in one county and then a subsequent assault in a neighboring county, the concurrent state jurisdiction may pursue the abduction in the county where the rape took place. “
He also argues that the state lacks jurisdiction to prosecute Montague because he is not of Native American descent, and Bear does, citing the McGirt decision which restored reserve status for much of eastern Oklahoma.
Additionally, if he is charged in Tulsa as a result of the McGirt decision, he should be charged federally because jurisdiction would lie with the tribal authorities or the federal government for allegedly committing the crime on tribal lands against a Native American, support the defense.
Smith also said Ramos should be charged with the same crime. He said in the motion that Ramos “delivered the dangerous controlled substance that allegedly led to the death of Jamie Bear”.
It was alleged in court that Ramos was the one who bought the heroin from Montague and gave it to Bear.
Montague was due to have a jury trial in January, but the date was postponed due to that motion. The state must file a response to the defense motion to dismiss by Jan.5.
A hearing for the arguments to be heard and the rescheduling of the trial is scheduled for January 18 at 8:30 a.m.