Choctaw Indian to serve 45 years for beating tribe member to death with fists, pipe and shovel, then burning body

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

Jerome Steve, 33, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III to 540 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for second degree murder, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Steve was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.

Steve entered a guilty plea on July 3, 2018, to one count of second degree murder.

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On November 2, 2017, four members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians assaulted and killed another Tribal member in the Tucker Community. The victim, Demetrius Sam, was beaten with fists and kicked first, then a steel pipe and later a shovel and post-hole digger.

Sam was then doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

Steve’s co-defendant, Keenan Martin, will be sentenced on March 22, 2019.

The sentencing of a third defendant, Keyshawn Willis, will be set at a later date.

A fourth defendant, Monte Isaac, died while awaiting sentencing.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Patrick Lemon, Assistant United States Attorney Erin Chalk, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Payne. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Choctaw Police Department.