New suspect charged in 2017 Shawnee homicide

Kim Morava

About a year after District Attorney Allan Grubb amended charges against a defendant charged in a 2017 Shawnee homicide because evidence pointed to another shooter, formal murder charges have now been filed against another suspect in that case.

Grubb's office has charged Christopher John Pipestem, 38, with three felony counts — murder in the first degree, robbery with a weapon and child abuse. Pipestem is accused, on our about Jan. 4, 2017, at Chapel Ridge Apartments, 130 E. 45th, of causing the death of Isaiah Anthony Harjo, 27, when firing a pistol into Harjo's torso.

Back on Jan. 18, 2019, Grubb, who had just taken office on Jan. 7, 2019, called a press conference and said the man originally charged with first-degree murder in this case, Antonio Maurice Sambrano, 20, was not the shooter based on evidence he had uncovered since taking office. As a result, Grubb explained why he had amended charges in Sambrano's case to accessory to murder in the first degree, saying Sambrano was present at the time of the homicide.

Sambrano pleaded guilty on Jan. 18, 2019 and was sentenced to serve a five-year suspended sentence with supervised probation. As a result , Sambrano, who had been in jail since his arrest on Jan. 5, 2017, was released from the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center after serving two years and 12 days in that facility.

At that press conference, Grubb said he planned to pursue the case further and file charges against a suspect, who wasn't named but was said to be incarcerated with the Department of Corrections in an unrelated case.

In addition to now being formally charged with Harjo's murder, Pipestem is charged with robbery with a weapon and is accused of taking away property from Harjo's pockets without his consent and against his will by using a pistol to shoot and rob him.

And finally, in the count of child abuse, Pipestem is accused of pointing a pistol at the head of a minor child who is listed in court affidavits as being 4-years-old, and then forcing that child to remove property from Harjo, the filing reads.

It was just before 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2017 when emergency crews responded to a shots fired report at building 11 at Chapel Ridge Apartments, with reports indicating the shooting occurred in an apartment where Harjo reportedly resided.

As part of the case originally investigated by Shawnee police, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded Harjo died of a gunshot wound to the chest, with manner of death listed as a homicide.

Harjo was transported from that scene to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where he died.

Pipestem, who is jailed without bond, is scheduled for a pre-preliminary scheduling hearing on March 24. Watch for more updates on this case.