OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, a federal judge sentenced ISAIAH WHITEFOX REDBIRD, 36, of Carnegie, Oklahoma, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for premeditated murder and assault causing serious bodily injury, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.
On November 6, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Redbird for deliberately killing a person by striking him on the head with a blunt force instrument on September 11, 2018, in Indian Country. He was also charged in a separate count with assaulting a person identified as K.R. on the same day with the intent to commit murder. The federal government had jurisdiction over the offense because Redbird is a Kiowa Indian and the offense occurred in Indian country.
According to facts presented at the November 2020 trial, Redbird bore a grudge against Byron “Subee” Tongkeamah, Jr., and his girlfriend, Kayleigh Roughface. 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. Redbird fled the scene, buried the crowbar, burned and buried his clothes, and fled to Arizona. Roughface survived, despite losing all memory of the night of the attack.
Evidence at trial further showed that, on the morning of September 12, 2018, Carnegie police discovered Roughface disoriented and 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 introduced at trial 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. After deliberating for two days, the federal jury returned a guilty verdict, convicting Redbird of the premeditated murder of Tongkeamah Jr. and assault causing serious bodily injury of Roughface.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot sentenced Redbird to serve life in federal prison for the murder of Tongkeamah and 10 years for the assault on Roughface. In announcing the sentence, Judge Friot noted the nature and circumstances of the offense. Parole has been abolished in the federal prison system.
This case is a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Oklahoma City Field Office, 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 prosecuted the case.
Reference is made to public filings for more information.