OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The family of a federal inmate whose death in a federal holding cell in Oklahoma City sparked allegations of a government cover-up are praising an appellate court order that criticizes federal officials.
Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake attorney and brother of inmate Kenneth Trentadue, says the government will never come out of the case clean.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by an Oklahoma City federal judge that the government treated the Trentadue family with such reckless conduct as to cause the family severe emotional harm. The relatives did not know the body had been autopsied until they saw it in a funeral home.
But the appellate court also said the judge needed to make further legal findings before authorizing a monetary award. Judges set aside a one-point-one (M)million dollars civil award and sent the case back to Oklahoma City for reconsideration of the damages.
Kenneth Trentadue was found hanging from a braided bed sheet in August 1995 at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. Prison officials called the death a suicide, but his kins have maintained that guards or another inmate beat him and prison officials covered up the crime and destroyed evidence.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)