NewsLocal News


Woman convicted in 2007 fatal hit-and-run seeks release due to tribal jurisdiction

Posted at 9:34 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 23:43:35-04

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa woman convicted in a 2007 deadly hit-and-run is headed back to court this week, claiming she should be released.

That news not sitting well with the families of the victims.

“A part of us died that day for sure," said Bobbie Nickel. "There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.”

Nickel's brother, Casey Jones, was one of five killed by a drunk driver on Nov. 9, 2007.

The group was helping an injured motorcyclist when a truck, driven by Kimberly Graham, drove through them.

Graham was convicted on five counts of first-degree manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. She was sentenced to 107 years in prison, but now, after just 13 years, she could be released.

Graham said she’s Native American and because of the recent Supreme Court decision in the McGirt case, she should not have been prosecuted due to tribal status.

READ MORE: Supreme Court rules much of eastern Oklahoma remains tribal reservation

However, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said Graham received her due process.

“There has to be a point and time where a due process has been afforded that you can’t come in this late after the game and say now suddenly, oh it was a big mistake, it should never have happened that way in the first place," Kunzweiler said.

Another factor concerning Nickel, the statute of limitations on the case has run out in the federal court. Meaning, it would be dismissed if the court sides with Graham.

“That’s my biggest fear, though, is that she gets to walk free and those five died with very, very little justice," Nickel said.

However, Kunzweiler said if that were to happen, they wouldn't give up.

"We’re going to fight this thing until a judge tells us that we just simply can’t do that," Kunzweiler said. "And if that means we take it up to court of criminal appeals, we’re going to do that.”

Nickel said, after all this time, she has never received an apology from Graham.

“She still gets to have visits from her family," Nickel said. "They get to see her, communicate with her. I get to go to a gravesite. And so do the other families.”

We reached out to Graham’s attorney, Richard O'Carroll, who sent us a statement saying:

Kimberly Graham mourns the loss of the decedents and the pain that was inflicted on their
family. She will do so forever.

Yet she too has a family of decent, God-fearing people who mourned their loss while she
was incarcerated for thirteen (13) years. This was a vehicular tragedy, not a violent

In McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court declared the law works for everyone and
repeatedly renounced the Attorney General’s attempts to use fear, anger and sympathy
as a substitute for consistent reason and fairness
Richard O'Carroll

Graham’s hearing is set for Thursday, Oct. 8.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --