The family of a woman who was raped by suspected serial rapist Leroy Smith, wants Smith to be tried, even though the crimes happened many years ago.
The case has been in limbo based on the recent Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction. A hearing is set next week, to see if the trial can move forward.
"Our mother deserves justice as well as all the other woman involved," said Tammy Templeton.
Templeton and her sisters, Dedra and Jamie, say their mother, Pamela Clark, was the strongest women they knew. She was resilient even after she was raped in the 90’s. Pamela died from cancer in 2015.
"Having to relive this is just another reminder that she’s not here with us," Dedra said.
"If my mother were alive today, should be fighting this fight. So, we’re here to fight the fight for her," Tammy said.
Smith is accused of raping five women, including Clark, in the 90's. Smith was arrested last year based on DNA evidence.
Smith then claimed he is a Cherokee Citizen, and his case was dismissed in state court. The case went to federal court but was dismissed there due to their statute of limitations for rape.
Now, Muskogee Country prosecutors said they should have jurisdiction over the case, because Smith was not a tribal member at the time of the crimes. However, Smith’s attorneys disagree.
"There is a difference in evidence. There is no new evidence to be re-filed so it’s our hope that the court just retains the status quo it had before it was refiled," attorney MJ Denman said.
Tammy and her sisters just want to see justice for their mom.
"It’s hard for me to imagine how many other people are out there just like him that are slipping through the same loopholes, and the communities are suffering for it," Tammy said.
Smith was supposed to be in court Monday, but there were issues getting him to the courthouse, so it’s been rescheduled for next Monday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m.