TULSA, Okla. – The last of multiple defendants involved in the abduction and death of an Osage Nation citizen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murder in the second degree in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Tre Robert Allen Ackerson, 29, of Webb City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to second degree murder for the killing of Osage citizen Jolene Walker Campbell. Ackerson faces up to life in federal prison with no possibility of parole.
“Tre Ackerson, along with codefendant Breanna Sloan, conspired to kidnap and brutally murder the victim. Then they conspired with additional co-defendants to threaten witnesses and destroy evidence in an extensive effort to cover up their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “This final conviction reflects three years of work and commitment from our law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors to provide justice for the victim and her family.”
“Jolene Campbell was only 35 when she was brutally murdered, a young woman with a long life ahead of her. She left behind a grieving family that deserves justice, and after three long years and nine convictions, we hope they can finally begin to heal from this tragic loss,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners, the defendants are now facing decades in prison for their involvement in this horrific crime.”
In the early morning hours of July 5, 2020, codefendant Breanna Sloan and Ackerson were driving around Joplin, Missouri. Ackerson spotted Campbell walking on the side of the road. Ackerson told Sloan he had robbed Campbell just a few hours earlier, and Sloan asked whether he wanted to lure Campbell into the vehicle. Ackerson agreed.
Sloan drove past Campbell to let Ackerson hide in the woods. She then waited in the car for Campbell to reach her location and offered her a ride. After Campbell got into the front passenger seat, Ackerson emerged from the woods armed with a gun, climbed into the rear seat, and told Sloan to drive.
Ackerson attempted to rob Campbell again, but she had nothing more for him to steal. Campbell suggested they go meet someone else she knew in Oklahoma City to obtain the money Ackerson wanted. During the drive from Missouri through Oklahoma, Campbell fell asleep. They stopped at a gas station in Tulsa before Sloan took a fateful detour into Mayes County, Oklahoma to go to another destination for supplies.
Before they reached the intended destination, Ackerson instructed Sloan to turn into a rural field and stop on a dead-end dirt road. Ackerson then got out of the car and opened the rear passenger door, causing a still-sleeping Campbell to partially fall out into the road. Ackerson then forced Campbell into the field and killed her.
The victim’s body was discovered on July 15, 2020, in the same Mayes County field where Ackerson killed her, within the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation reservation.
A year later, on July 20, 2021, 11 defendants from the Joplin, Missouri, area were charged for their various roles related to the kidnapping that led to the death of the victim and for conspiring to obstruct the ensuing federal investigation, including tampering with witnesses by using and threatening physical force.
Ackerson admitted that he intentionally shot the victim multiple times, cut her throat, and hit her head several times with a tire jack until she died from the injuries. He further admitted to conspiring with the other co-defendants to obstruct, threaten, and tamper with witnesses that had information relating to the kidnapping and murder.
Ackerson has been and will remain in the custody of the Marshal Service pending formal sentencing at a future date and faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
The additional defendants in this case, all currently in custody, are as follows:
Breanna Lynn Sloan, 24, pleaded guilty on Nov. 17, 2022, and admitted that from July 4, 2020, to July 5, 2020, she aided and abetted co-defendant Ackerson, in the kidnapping of the victim and that the victim died as a result of the kidnapping. Sloan faces up to life in prison.
Chloe Louise Stith, 23, pleaded guilty on May 5, 2022, to witness tampering by using and threatening physical force. Stith admitted that she helped another person in a separate incident in the use of force against two other witnesses with the intention of keeping them from communicating with federal law enforcement about Campbell’s disappearance and subsequent murder. She admitted to covering the two witnesses’ eyes with duct tape and driving the witnesses against their will to a remote location where one witness was physically assaulted by the other person who had accompanied Stith. The incident occurred on Aug. 13, 2020. Stith faces up to 30 years in prison.
Sarah Michelle Humbard, 26, and David William Morris, 35 each pleaded guilty to witness tampering by using the threat of physical force. Humbard and Morris both admitted that they threatened a witness by referencing Campbell’s murder and that the witness was “playing with fire.” The two further admitted to luring the witness to drive to the Precious Moments Hotel in Carthage, Missouri, where codefendant Lane Bronson confronted the witness. Bronson, who is Ackerson’s brother, then demanded the witness change testimony regarding co-defendant Ackerson, and if not, the witness would pay for it. Humbard pleaded guilty on April 21, 2022, and Morris pleaded guilty May 13, 2022. They each face a maximum of 20 years.
Lane Ryan Bronson, 30, pleaded guilty on Nov. 21, 2022, to witness tampering by using and threatening physical force and faces a maximum of 30 years. Bronson admitted to assaulting and using physical force on witnesses with the intention of preventing them from communicating with federal law enforcement officers about his brother’s involvement in Campbell’s kidnapping and killing.
Morgan Lee Bowman, 28, pleaded guilty on May 9, 2022, to tampering with a witness, victim, and informant by using and threatening physical force and faces a maximum of 30 years. Bowman admitted that on July 7, 2020, she, Megan Louise Detherage, and Bronson bound, blindfolded, and kidnapped two witnesses from a Joplin home and drove them to a remote location in Seneca, Missouri, that was occupied by Ackerson and Sloan. She stated that while at that location, Ackerson used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot at one of the witnesses and told the witness to “dance.” The second witness, who was still bound and blindfolded, was forced to listen. Bowman stated that after the shooting, she, Sloan, and Detherage took the witnesses’ personal belongings and wiped down the car used in the kidnapping with bleach with the intention of destroying DNA and fingerprint evidence. Bowman admitted that at the time of the crime, she understood that a federal proceeding was likely to evolve in relation to the kidnapping and killing of Campbell and that they threatened the witnesses with the intent to prevent communication with law enforcement about the crimes.
Jacob Ryan Scribner, 35, pleaded guilty on Jan. 6, 2023, to conspiracy to retaliate against a witness and informant, and he is facing 20 years in prison. Scribner admitted to having a recorded jail call with Stith regarding a witness that had been talking to the FBI. They believed the witness was also going to be placed in custody at the same jail facility as Scribner. Stith told Scribner that she would pay a $75 bounty to anybody to “relay a great message” to the witness. Scribner agreed to relay the bounty around the facility with the understanding that Stith was offering to pay money for someone to assault the witness for talking to the FBI.
Megan Louise Detherage, 29, pleaded guilty on May 10, 2022, to misprision of a felony and faces a maximum of three years. Detherage admitted that she failed to inform law enforcement about her participation in a kidnapping for the purpose of intimidating witnesses of a drug trafficking offense. On July 7, 2020, she, Bronson, Bowman, and two witnesses were present at a house in Joplin. She stated that at Bronson’s direction, she and Bowman blindfolded the two witnesses and they drove the witnesses to a trailer in Seneca, Missouri, where Ackerson and Sloan were located. She stated that Ackerson and Bronson left with one of the witnesses, then returned and parked behind the trailer. She, Sloan, and Bowman then wiped down the car used in the kidnapping with bleach at the direction of Bronson. During that time, she claimed that she heard gunshots fired in the direction of where Ackerson and one of the witnesses were located, causing the second witness to become fearful. She stated the only firearm she saw during the kidnapping was a short-barreled rifle carried by Ackerson.
Charges were dismissed on the remaining two defendants pursuant to diversionary agreements.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI, Mayes County Sheriff’s Office, Muscogee Nation Lighthorse Police Department, and the Joplin Police Department conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Bish and George Jiang prosecuted the case.