OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, a federal jury convicted ISAIAH WHITEFOX REDBIRD, 34, of Carnegie, Oklahoma, of premeditated murder and assault causing serious bodily injury, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.
According to facts presented at trial, Redbird bore a grudge against Byron “Subee” Tongkeamah, Jr., and his girlfriend, Kayleigh Roughface, who, at the time, were homeless Indian residents of Carnegie. On the night of September 11, 2018, Redbird entered an enclosed porch of an abandoned house where Tongkeamah Jr. and Roughface had taken refuge. He approached them where they were in bed on a foam mattress on the floor and struck each of them multiple times on the head with the crowbar. Tongkeamah Jr. died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries to his skull, which was shattered by the blows. Redbird fled the scene, buried the crowbar in the mud of the Washita River, burned and buried his clothes, and fled to Arizona. Roughface survived, despite losing all memory of the night of the attack.
On the morning of September 12, 2018, Carnegie police discovered the disoriented Roughface, walking down the street in Carnegie. She was covered with dried blood and had massive trauma, including a fractured skull, a fractured eye socket, a broken arm, and a broken finger. Soon after that, officers discovered the body of Tongkeamah Jr. in the enclosed porch.
Audio-recordings of Redbird’s phone conversations revealed that he believed he had a duty to execute Tongkeamah Jr. and Roughface based on rumors he had heard about them. Multiple tribal members testified against Redbird. At trial, Redbird claimed there had been an altercation in the carport, and he acted in self-defense.
The federal government has jurisdiction over the offense because Redbird is a Kiowa Indian, and the offense occurred in Indian country.
After deliberating for two days, the federal jury returned a guilty verdict, convicting Redbird of premeditated murder of Tongkeamah and assault causing serious bodily injury of Roughface.
At sentencing, which will be set by the Court in approximately three months, Redbird will receive mandatory life in federal prison without parole.
This case is a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Carnegie Police Department, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The Regional Organized Crime Information Center and the Kiowa Tribe provided logistical assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Hale and Mark Stoneman are prosecuting the case.
Reference is made to public filings for more information. To download a photo of U.S. Attorney Downing, click here.