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Oklahoma Gladiator Discipline Results in Prisoner’s Death

The estate of a prisoner killed by his codefendant claimed in a lawsuit that guards at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) used a “gladiator system” to discipline prisoners.

Paul David Duran, Jr., 24, and Jesse James Dalton, 33, were convicted on charges related to a 2002 home invasion robbery. Duran testified at trial against Dalton, who received a life sentence without parole. Duran, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm and was sentenced to 28 years.

According to a federal suit filed by Duran’s estate in October 2010, Duran was involved in an argument with a guard, who told him, “I got somebody for you.” Duran was then placed in a cell with Dalton despite expressing fear for his life and requesting not to be housed with Dalton.

The complaint alleged that “Dalton beat Duran to death within minutes of Duran’s placement in Dalton’s cell.” They were cellmates for about 15 minutes. Records show that Duran died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the neck.

At a preliminary hearing in Dalton’s murder prosecution, a deputy warden testified that both prisoners’ files were clearly marked that they were to be separated, and such information was available to the guards who placed them together.

The lawsuit named as defendants guards Darrell Wilson and Leroy Henry, Warden Randy Workman, and Deputy Wardens Linda Morgan and Terry Crenshaw. About six months after Duran was killed, Henry was fired and Wilson was suspended for five days without pay.

“We believe that they have been utilizing this gladiator system to help manage their facilities, and we think that the people would like to know about it,” said the estate’s attorney, Anthony L. Allen. The lawsuit remains pending. See: Duran v. Wilson, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Okla.), Case No. 6:10-cv-00379-RAW.

Additional source: Tulsa World

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Related legal case

Duran v. Wilson