MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 31, 2013

Murder defendant pleads no contest

She gets 3 life terms in double killing

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— TAHLEQUAH — A Muskogee woman received three life sentences Wednesday when she pleaded no contest to charges that she killed two people and stabbed a man.

Jessie Renee Leppke-Redford, 46, appeared in front of District Judge Darrell Shepherd to plead no contest to charges of:

• Assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

• Two counts of first-degree murder, malice aforethought.

Leppke-Redford gave no statement, other than saying she understood what she was doing by pleading no contest.

District 27 District Attorney Brian Kuester said discussions regarding the plea agreement offered to Leppke-Redford had taken place within the last 30 days.

“Safe to say that we received the offer through her attorney for the life sentences,” Kuester said. “We believe it was proper justice.”

Leppke-Redford and her husband, Tracy Redford, were arrested Aug. 16 — a day after police say they stabbed a Muskogee man, Ernest “Lee” Norfleet, 11 times, and four days after prosecutors allege they killed Angela Findlay and Jesse Catron at a home on Louellen Street.

Prosecutors have alleged that Leppke-Redford killed Findlay, her sister, and Redford killed Catron, Leppke-Redford’s uncle.

Norfleet, 52, was attacked at the Cherokee Inn in Tahlequah. He said he was summoned there by Leppke-Redford, who requested a ride. He was then attacked by the couple, prosecutors said. Although he had been stabbed several times, Norfleet was able to escape in his vehicle, which he said he believed his attackers were attempting to steal.

Leppke-Redford will serve the three life sentences concurrently. She will be 84 when she’s eligible for parole.

Kuester told Shepherd that the DA’s office had been in contact with Findlay and Catron’s family members, who accepted the terms of the agreement.  

Tracy Redford, who is charged with the same offenses as his wife, has not had a preliminary hearing. Online court records show he is to return to court at 9 a.m. March 27.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.