Arnold Dean Howell, Jr. was serving life without parole for the murder of a Sapulpa man that occurred during a robbery in 2015, when the McGirt ruling came down. Because Howell is an enrolled tribal member and the crime occurred within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation, the state conviction was vacated and ordered dismissed.
The 27-year-old Howell now faces federal charges of murder in the first degree in Indian Country, according to acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
According to federal court documents, Howell and his sister, Katherine Freeman, conspired to rob the victim, 67-year-old Michael Mondier, Sr., at his home in Sapulpa. Investigators allege that during the robbery, Freeman held the victim at gunpoint with one of the victim’s rifles, then Howell directed her to get a knife from the kitchen. He is alleged to have repeatedly stabbed the victim. When the knife broke, another was retrieved, and Howell continued his attack, causing the victim’s death. Howell and Freemen stole, among other things, the victim’s vehicle, wallet, watch, two rifles, and laptop.
The victim was found deceased the next day during a welfare check, and his vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Tulsa.
Howell went on to be sentenced to life without parole. Freeman pled guilty to accessory to murder and was sentenced to 25 years, all of which but 22 months was suspended. She was released in 2017.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Sapulpa Police Department, and FBI are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cymetra M. Williams and Christopher M. Kelly are prosecuting the case.
This matter will proceed in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, where the criminal complaint is currently pending.