Tuesday Weisblog: Oklahoma prison not OK for one inmate

In March 2002, Jessie James Dalton killed Billy Ray Wayne during an Oklahoma robbery/home invasion. Dalton’s accomplices were Paul Duran Jr. and Warren Plank, both just 16 at the time.

dalton_duranDuran testified against Dalton at Dalton’s murder trial the following year, and as a result Duran got a lesser charge of “only” 28 years. Meanwhile, Dalton received a life sentence.

When Duran recently got into a scuffle with one of his cellmates, Oklahoma State Penitentiary officials deemed it necessary to move Duran to a new cell to restore order.

Trouble is, they moved him into the small, square cell that Mr. Dalton also called home. Bet you can guess what happened next, can’t you?

A mere 15 minutes after being moved into his new “suite” at the “Oklahoma Hilton,” Duran was found beaten to death. Officials say he’d been repeatedly punched and kicked. Not exactly the Welcome Wagon, to say the least.

Duran’s attorney, Bill Smith says he’s trying to find out how Duran ended up in the same cell as Dalton because laws prohibit an inmate to be housed with someone they testified against.

You know what Dalton was thinking: “I already have a life sentence. What do I have to lose? This is my chance to extract some revenge the good old-fashioned way on somebody who rolled over!”

Did Duran not speak up? If he did, why did the guards ignore him? Why didn’t the prison staff hear the commotion while Duran was being beaten to death?

Many questions linger, and it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

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4 responses to “Tuesday Weisblog: Oklahoma prison not OK for one inmate

  1. Good post. This story is all kinds of weird. The guards prob were already worked up about the fight that Duran was in before, that they completely blew off his pleas to not place him in that cell. I feel bad for him.

  2. That is my guess, too, Tameka. Thank you for the post!

  3. this whole situation is messed up. it never should have went down like it did, oklahoma judicial system is MESSED UP this case was a disaster from the beggining

  4. Karrie McIntyre

    He was not involved in a scuffle or fight as doc stated at the time he was taken to the cell in handcuffs and was in handcuffs entire time no fight it was murder pure and simple only thing is ok is crooked and they claim they have that right. But it hurt me to lose my son I am thankful that he is free and with the Lord now. Things like this happen more than you think I watched after my baby was murdered there were several more questionable deaths in the same place.

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