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LOGAN COUNTY, Okla.–The family of a man who was brutally betrayed by his own employer remains unable to heal through the grieving process as relatives prepare for the killer’s sentencing hearing.
Daniel Triplett, the white owner of a septic tank installation company and a former Guthrie City Councilman, faces life in prison after he was convicted for the murder and corpse desecration of Brent Mack, who is Black.
“I think it’s too good for him. I asked for the death penalty,” Troy Franklin Smith, the brother of Brent Mack and Tulsa fire captain, told The Black Wall Street Times on Tuesday.
Triplett faces a sentencing hearing on Friday, June 16 at 9:00 a.m. in front of Logan County Judge Phillip C. Corley, according to court documents. Triplett also faces a wrongful death lawsuit from the Mack family.
Family stays 10 toes down for justice for Brent Mack
What 50-year-old Brent Mack thought would be his final day working for Triplett turned out to be his final day drawing breath. Despite telling authorities that he had fired Mack and given him a $1,000 severance package, video footage at a home where the pair were installing a septic tank showed both men going down into a hole. Only one came out.
Smith described his brother Mack as a man who was passionate about everything he did, including supporting his family, but most of all his grandkids.
“That’s what hurts me the most, those grand kids loved him,” Smith said. “The only thing he had was his car. He was going give it to his grandson. His dream was to fix his car for his grandson. That’s the type of guy he was.”
Unwilling to let his murder go unpunished, Mack’s family has remained determined to see a semblance of justice.
“Triplett thought Brent Mack was a nobody. He didn’t realize Brent Mack had a family that loved him,” Justice for Greenwood and civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons told The Black Wall Street Times on Tuesday.
No time to grieve, Brent Mack family had to fight for justice
Mack’s daughter first reported Brent missing on Sept. 29, 2021, after not seeing or hearing from him for nine days. The investigation quickly led local authorities to question his former employer and prominent city leader, Daniel Triplett, who told police he had fired Mack on Sept. 20, the last day Mack’s daughter had heard from him.
Triplett said he’d dropped Mack off at a laundromat, but surveillance footage showed he never stopped there.
A search of Triplett’s home led authorities to a work log, which detailed the last septic tank installation job the pair had done together.
Video footage at the home showed that while both men went down into the hole, 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.
“What they did to Brent Mack is what the folks in McCurtain County wanted to do,” attorney Solomon-Simmons said, referring to a state and federal investigation into the McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy and other officials who were recorded discussing plans to kill a journalist, bury his body in a hole and their desire to lynch Black people.
One of the journalists who recorded the racist conversation detailed how he fears for the safety of his family as the sheriff remains in office.
Meanwhile, the judge’s leniency toward Daniel Triplett throughout the trial process proved painful for a family seeking justice.
Septic Tank killer Daniel Triplett violated his bond three times
The murder of Brent Mack first drew national attention after the judge overseeing his bond hearing approved a $500,000 bond, half of the typical $1 million for capital murder cases. Unapologetically showcasing white privilege, Special Judge Susan Worthington cited Triplett’s work in the community as a former city councilor and businessman as justification for a lower bond.
“She didn’t take into account our feelings that our loved one was shot in the back and buried in the hole,” Smith said.
Pouring salt on an open wound, Judge Worthington at first took no action after Triplett violated his bond three times. Only after the Oklahoma NAACP, Black Lives Matter Oklahoma, and attorney Solomon-Simmons expressed public outrage did Judge Worthington revoke Triplett’s bond.
“The judge had several other murder cases she denied bond to. On a capital murder charge she set his bail at half the maximum. Two slaps in the face. She didn’t give him the full amount,” Smith added.
Yet he said his family gained a bit of relief after the guilty verdict was announced on April 26.
“The jury only deliberated for about 2 hours. Dan Triplett was very arrogant on the stand. That’s why we’re asking for our judge on Friday to take the recommendation from the jury and provide a life without parole sentence,” attorney Solomon-Simmons said.