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A former city councilman of Guthrie, Oklahoma, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Tuesday for killing his Black employee and burying him underneath a septic tank. Daniel Triplett faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The family of then 50-year-old Brent Mack cried tears of joy following the verdict after a years-long battle to gain justice for their deceased love one. “Giving thanks, giving thanks, you know this has been a long fight, and we wasn’t going anywhere,” said Brent Mack’s brother, Troy Franklin-Smith, according to FOX 25.
We previously reported that the NAACP, Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, and the Mack family’s attorney successfully convinced a judge to revoke Triplett’s bond in January 2022 after he had already violated his bond regulations three times, despite facing first-degree murder charges and desecration of a human corpse.
News of the guilty verdict comes as McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy and other local officials face demands for their resignation after journalists recorded them discussing wanting to kill journalists and complaining about no longer being allowed to lynch Black people.
“It is not acceptable”
Mack’s family first reported him as missing in September 2021. Police discovered Triplett fired Mack from his septic tank installation business on Sept. 20, 2021, and gave him a $1,000 severance.
Triplett claimed he dropped Mack off at a local laundromat, but at a home where the two worked their last job together, surveillance footage showed both men going down into a hole to work on a septic tank. Brent Mack never came out of that hole.
Justice for Greenwood attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons praised the guilty verdict on Tuesday.
“The Police Department, OSBI, the Sheriff’s Department, everybody came together to say this is not acceptable in this community, it is not acceptable to shoot someone in the back, murder them, put them in a hole, burry them, alive maybe, lie about it, because you are successful because you are an elected official,” said the Mack Family Attorney, Damario Solomon-Simmons.
Oklahoma businessman, ex-politician buried his employee underneath septic tank
During their investigation, police believed Triplett was lying about his version of what took place. After gaining a search warrant, authorities 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. State anthropologists eventually dug up the hole and discovered Mack’s body. They were able to identify him through the wallet in his pocket.
“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 2021.
Triplett faces a sentencing hearing on June 16 at 9 a.m.
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