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GUTHRIE, Okla.—Civil rights leaders successfully demanded a judge revoke bond for Daniel Triplett, a man accused of murdering his Black employee and burying his body beneath a septic tank.
Leaders from the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, along with a civil rights attorney, joined the family of a deceased man at a bond revocation hearing on Friday, Jan. 14. At the hearing, a Logan County District Attorney argued that the $500,000 bond Special Judge Susan Worthington initially granted to Daniel Triplett should be revoked. It comes after he violated the bond regulations on three occasions.
According to KOCO 5 News on Friday evening, a judge hearing today’s case chose to revoke Triplett’s bond.
Meanwhile, grief and anger continue to flood through the family of Brent Mack, the 50-year-old Black man whose body was discovered last year. His daughter reported him missing on Sept. 29, 2021 after not seeing him for nine days.
Soon after, officers questioned Daniel Triplett, a well-known business owner in the community and an owner of a septic tank installation company.
Search leads to discovery of body beneath septic tank
During weeks of questioning, a search of Triplett’s home, and surveillance footage in the area where Mack was last seen, Guthrie Police officers determined that Triplett was lying about what he said happened.
Triplett told investigators he had fired Mack on Sept. 20, giving him a $1,000 severance payment. While Triplett told police he dropped Mack off at a laundromat that day, surveillance footage showed him driving past the laundromat, not stopping.
Officers used a search warrant to check Triplett’s home. They found a logbook revealing the last job before Mack’s disappearance. Surveillance footage of a home in the Logan County town of Mulhall showed the pair working to install a septic tank.
Importantly, the footage showed Mack disappearing from view after entering a hole being dug for the septic tank. Only Triplett was seen exiting the work site. Mack never again appeared on camera.
On October 21, investigators dug up the septic tank and state anthropologists used a probe to find the body. A wallet inside a pocket confirmed the identity of Brent Mack. He was shot in the back, according to authorities.
Bond for Daniel Triplett outrages victim’s family
The horrific nature of the crime and Triplett’s continued denial has caused outrage for Mack’s family. Two months after discovering the body, Mack’s children filed a lawsuit against Triplett, according to KFOR.
“When we got the call that they pulled my dad out of a 13-foot hole, with a 2,500-pound septic tank on top of his body, I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Terrell Mack, Brent Mack’s son, told KFOR in December.
News of the lawsuit filing came days after Special Judge Susan Worthington compounded the Mack family’s pain by choosing to grant bond for Daniel Triplett, who was once a Guthrie City Councilman in the 1980s, according to Guthrie News.
The case has also highlighted the reality of white privilege that conservatives often seek to ignore.
Despite being charged with murder and desecration of a human corpse, a judge set Daniel Triplett free on bond. He violated it three times. Even testimony from police warning against granting bond failed to persuade the judge. Ultimately, Judge Worthington chose instead to center the feelings of Triplett’s wife, who testified to his character and business success. The judge allowed a man accused of viciously assassinating his own employee back out onto the streets.
Bond revocation hearing calls attention to bond violations
Visibly and verbally expressing their outrage at the judge’s decision, police escorted members of the Mack family out of the courthouse during the initial bond hearing.
Meanwhile, citing three bond violations and the nature of the crime, Logan County DA Laura Thomas continues to argue that Daniel Triplett is a danger to the community at Friday’s bond revocation hearing.
According to a report from FOX 25, DA Thomas has detailed three bond violations:
- December 15, 2021, Triplett visited the Waffle House on I-35 in Oklahoma City.
- January 4, 2022 Triplett visited a convenience store on Sooner and Seward in Guthrie.
- January 4, 2022, Triplett conducted business at Oklahoma State Bank.
“In my 35-plus years as a prosecutor, bond is not granted in murder one cases,” DA Thomas was quoted saying, according to a press release from Tulsa civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons.
Solomon-Simmons, who represents the living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre in a reparations lawsuit, Garland Pruitt, president of Oklahoma City NAACP, and Rev. Sheri T. Dickerson, leader of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, decided to join the Mack family as they headed into the courthouse on Friday for the hearing. The trio spoke with the media ahead of the court hearing.
“I want him to go to jail and I hope they put a picture of my father in his jail cell so you can get a daily reminder for the rest of his life of what he did. That’s what I would love to see happen,” Terrell previously said.
The family created a petition seeking to disbar Judge Worthington for her decision to grant bond. It currently has over 2,600 signatures.