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(Read Part 1 here.)


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August 21, 1995 was a busy time for the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center (OKFTC). Kenneth Michael Trentadue, once full of life, was now lying dead in the infirmary as a battered shell of what he had once been.

Acting Warden Marie Carter phoned Trentadue’s mother and lied, saying that her son had committed suicide by hanging himself and, contrary to federal law, asked permission to immediately cremate her son.  Then Carter was on the phone with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office, asking what procedures to take to cremate Trentadue’s body, even though Trentadue’s mother had expressly forbidden it.

Tammi Gillis from  the Medical Examiner’s office, along with an assistant, was on the prison grounds in the infirmary looking at the battered body of Kenneth Trentadue. Upon hearing officials say that Trentadue had simply died by asphyxiation due to hanging, Gillis was incredulous and requested entrance to Trentadue’s cell. This was denied, in which again, contrary to federal law, it was stated that the FBI was doing its own investigation. (This FBI investigation of the cell would never take place). Gillis was only permitted to look through the small window in Trentadue’s cell. All in all, according to records, she and her assistant were on prison grounds for a total of twenty minutes, taking the body with them.

At one point before the Medical Examiner’s team arrived, a videotape was made of Trentadue and his cell by Roger T. Groover, a guard at the prison. This recording was later deemed to not exist. (More on this later).

Enter FBI agent Kenneth W. Freeman, supposedly in charge of the investigation. Apparently, as part of his thoroughness, instead of treating Trentadue’s cell as a crime scene, there was assigned a team of inmates with prison guards looking on to meticulously clean the cell. This included blood spatter on the walls four feet off the floor, pools of blood, and pieces of flesh and hair strewn everywhere.

The Bureau of Prisons dispatched a team referred to as the Psychological Reconstruction Unit, the one part of the investigation required by law after an inmate’s suicide that actually was carried out. The team arrived at about 2 p.m. later that day. They found the cell wiped clean of everything: blood, flesh, hair, fingerprints-the truth-and left unable to do any real investigation.

Meanwhile, Medical Examiner Fred B. Jordan was examining the battered body of Kenneth Trentadue, while his assistants filed in and out to vomit, being sickened by the condition of the body. There were two dozen wounds to the body, including three skull fractures, his throat cut ear to ear, a broken hyoid bone (indicating strangulation, not hanging), fingertip wounds on his biceps (that is, from being held down), bruising on the anal verge (from being repeatedly kicked with hard-soled shoes), and others. That day, the Medical Examiner began an almost three-year journey to find out the nightmare that Kenneth Trentadue went through that early morning on August 21, 1995.

When the Medical Examiner finally gained access to that cell almost five months later, spraying the chemical luminol (which shows the presence of minuscule amounts of blood), the cell “lit up like a candle.” Along with blood on the floor and on the walls four feet from the floor, one of the most disturbing images that seared into his mind was a bloody handprint near the cell’s panic button, in which the handprint is shown to streak downwards (as if Kenny had tried to hit the button but failed to do so.) Was this the moment that Kenneth Trentadue’s soul left his body while his murderers, hands bloody with violence and hatred in their eyes, looked on? We will probably never know.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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