For one defendant it was a quick day in court, while for another a next step will come in the case of a moonshine operation busted last year in far southern Garvin County.
Back in August 2020 it was Kenneth White, 54, and Jackie Rollings, 57, who were among a trio caught operating an illegal whisky still in a remote area near Hennepin.
Originally a total of 29 criminal charges were filed against Rollings, another 14 against White and a third defendant, Donald Teeter, 68, received 30 charges.
Teeter has since taken a plea deal, while for Rollings all her charges were dismissed earlier this week based on the now famous McGirt ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling says the Native American reservations in much of Oklahoma were never formally disestablished, which means tribes have the jurisdiction, not the state, in criminal cases involving defendants or victims with tribal connections.
In Rollings case she was able to prove she's a member a the Potawatomi Nation, which is a federally recognized tribe.
“Some tribes don't issue blood quantum with membership. It's based on whether or not your a decedent of a tribal member,” said Laura McClain, assistant district attorney in Garvin County.
The more than two dozen state charges against Rollings were dismissed after all her tribal membership documents were provided to the court.
During Monday's brief court hearing is wasn't so simple for White, who must come back in December with more evidence his tribe, the Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri, is recognized on the federal level.
“His tribe is not on the list I have of federally recognized tribes,” McClain said.
“The biggest thing for Mr. White is to prove his tribe is federally recognized. After that it's what the actual enrollment date is of his membership.”
It was this past March when Teeter pleaded no contest to only one of the 30 charges against him, resulting a 10-year suspended sentence. All the other charges were dismissed as part of the agreement.
Back on Aug. 17, 2020 a tip led Garvin County deputies to a rural site where the trio was making illegal liquor a few miles west of Hennepin.
Conducting a search warrant deputies found what was described as a “pretty in-depth” operation with an estimated 50 jars of moonshine being distilled at the time.
A deputy reported seeing an “operational whiskey still that was showing pressure on a gauge” as all three defendants were found at the site.
Outside of that room two large ice chests were found containing “mash,” which is used in the process to make alcoholic beverages. Jars of what was believed to be homemade liquor were found at various sites around the property.