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Tribal claim disputed

The Native American pedigree of former Pawhuska football coach Scotty Ray Gilkey was called into question Tuesday during a district court hearing at which the ex-Huskies’ star is seeking the dismissal of embezzlement charges that were filed against him and his wife earlier this year.

Gilkey testified at the hearing in support of a motion which asked for the charges to be dropped due to a lack of jurisdiction by Osage County courts. The 38-year-old Pawhuska High School graduate produced a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) showing him to be one-quarter Pawnee.

In addition to disputing the facts of the alleged crimes, Gilkey contends that the State of Oklahoma has no jurisdiction because the incidents involved in the charges are said to have occurred on Indian land. (Crimes committed on restricted properties generally are subject to prosecution only in federal courts.)

District Attorney Rex Duncan disputed the Indian immunity claim by Gilkey. He said it is only valid for actual Indian citizens and certified tribal members. Duncan argued that the CDIB was not sufficient to prove tribal citizenship, which he said is required to support Gilkey’s motion.

“Citizenship is a political matter within the different tribal communities,” said Duncan, adding: “Mr. Gilkey is not and was not a member of an Indian tribe.”

The district attorney said Gilkey does not have a tribal membership number. He pointed out that the number on the Gilkey CDIB actually is a (Dawes) Roll number of a deceased Pawnee citizen who was a grandfather of the former football coach.

“It is simply a tracking number that is used in probate (court) to track assets of tribal members,” said Duncan.

Testimony by Gilkey indicated that his mother is one-half Pawnee and that he receives payments from the tribe and owns tribal property as a descendant of his Pawnee grandfather.

Gilkey also testified that he had not been involved in operating a summer 2012 fireworks stand from which the funds were derived for the alleged embezzlement charges.

The owner of the property on which the stand was located, Paul Mays, testified that the stand was operated by Jennifer Gilkey and her daughter. Mays said he was unaware that the fireworks were being sold to raise funds for school sports programs.

Pawhuska Schools Superintendent Dr. Landon Berry suspended Gilkey from his head coaching duties last November, just a few days before the PHS football season ended with a first-round loss in the state playoffs. Gilkey’s coaching contract expired later in the 2012-13 school year.

Defense attorney Aletia Timmons attempted to introduce evidence that revenue from the fireworks stand did not even belong to the Pawhuska Public Schools, as claimed in the charges.

“There is no evidence in this case that there is a victim at all, let alone a non-Indian victim on Indian land,” Timmons said.

Gilkey is named in a felony embezzlement charge alleging he fraudulently appropriated more than $2,500 which were claimed to be proceeds from the “Pawhuska Football Firework Stand, belonging to Pawhuska Public Schools and which had been entrusted to (him) for the benefit of Pawhuska Public Schools.”

The former coach and his wife also are charged with seven counts of embezzlement connected to checks from Pawhuska school patrons. The payments supposedly were intended for the school district but allegedly were deposited in personal account of the Gilkeys.

Osage County Special District Judge Stuart Tate set a Dec. 6 deadline for Timmons to provide a brief in support of the motion for dismissal. He asked Duncan to respond to the defense filing by Jan. 3, 2014, and scheduled resumption of the hearing for 9 a.m. on Jan. 17.

Since their arrests in August, Gilkey has been free on appearance bonds totalling $4,000 while his wife was released on a $1,500 bond.

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