Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing
The north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City is shown in this undated handout photo. The building was heavily damaged by a car bomb early Wednesday, April 19, 1995. (AP Photo/ho)
In this July 16, 2014, photo, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue holds a photograph of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, in the early 80's showing his dragon tattoo on his left forearm which fit the description the FBI was circulating of "John Doe 2" during an interview, in Salt Lake City. Trentadue's quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the federal government goes to trial Monday, July 28, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue holds a photograph of his holds a photograph of his dead brother showing his bruises and injuries during an interview Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Trentadue's quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the federal government goes to trial Monday, July 28, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this July 16, 2014, photo, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue holds a photograph of his brother taken in the early 80's showing his dragon tattoo on his left forearm which fit the description the FBI was circulating of "John Doe 2", during an interview, in Salt Lake City. Trentadue's quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the federal government goes to trial Monday, July 28, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this photo released by Jesse Trentadue, Jesse and his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, right, pose for their picture in 1995 in the mountains above Park City, Utah. Jesse is investigating the August 1995 death of his brother in a federal prison. (AP Photo/courtesy of Jesse Trentadue)
Scott Adams, the Oklahoma City lawyer for the Kenneth Trentadue family, stands in front of a poster of Kenneth Trentadue, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 1997, in his Oklahoma City office. The poster features a photo of Trentadue in his casket. Federal officals at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center claim that Trentadue committed suicide while at the center two years ago. However, his family and Adams believe he was murdered. His body was covered with bruises. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
In this April 17, 2014 photo a visitor walks through a renovated Gallery of Honor, an exhibit about victims of the bombing, that is part of the $7 million upgrade at The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Ted Krey of Yukon, Okla., a first responder to the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, walks with his dog, Pokie, along the Reflecting Pool at the Oklahoma City Memorial in Oklahoma City on Saturday, April 19, 2014, the 19th anniversary of the bombing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin speaks at the Oklahoma City National Memorial in Oklahoma City on Saturday, April 19, 2014 during a ceremony to mark the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Jannie Coverdale walks among the Field of Chairs at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial in Oklahoma City, Friday, July 25, 2014, looking for the chairs of her two grandchildren, who were killed in the blast. Coverdale said she is hopeful that an upcoming trial in Utah will shed light on the bombing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Cary Falling, Oklahoma Christian University physical plant director, checks on a display of flags at the school in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. The school has 168 U.S. and 168 state of Oklahoma flags on display to honor victims of terrorist attacks. The "Ralph and Maxine Harvey Field of Flags" at Oklahoma Christian is a dual tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, in which 168 people died. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
New Mexico Lt. Governor John Sanchez looks at a large photograph of the bombed Murrah Federal Building while on a tour of the Oklahma City National Memorial Museum with Lieutenant Governors in town for their annual meeting in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
An aerial view of the execution facility at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., is shown in this, April 25, 2001 file photo. On Monday, June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh will be the first federal prisoner put to death since 1963. He was convicted for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 men, women, and children. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Defense attorney Stephen Jones is seen outside of the U.S. Courthouse in Denver, Colo., Friday, June 13, 1997 after the jury sentenced Timothy McVeigh to death for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
This evidence photo of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh was introduced at his trial in Denver on Monday, May 19, 1997. It was taken April 19, 1995, just hours after the Oklahoma City bombing, at the Noble County Jail in Perry, Okla., when McVeigh was booked on a firearm charge. (AP Photo/HO)
Terry Nichols is led by U.S. Marshals from the United States Court House in Wichita, Kan., May 10, 1995. No trial date has been set for Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, the two suspects in the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Pre-trial hearings could delay the start until next year. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh, top center, poses with members of his platoon during a break in infantry training at Ft. Benning, Ga., June 3, 1988. Others are not indentified. (AP Photo)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - One man's quest to explain his brother's mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

What some consider a far-flung conspiracy theory will be at the forefront during a trial set to begin Monday in Salt Lake City. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was brought by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue against the FBI. He says the agency won't release security camera videos that show a second person was with Timothy McVeigh when he parked a truck outside the Oklahoma City federal building and detonated a bomb, killing 168 people. The government claims McVeigh was alone.

Unsatisfied by the FBI's previous explanations, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups has ordered the agency to explain why it can't find videos from the bombing that are mentioned in evidence logs, citing the public importance of the tapes.

Trentadue believes the presence of a second suspect in the truck explains why his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, was flown to Oklahoma several months after the bombing, where he died in a federal holding cell in what was labeled a suicide. His brother bore a striking resemblance to the police sketch that officials sent out after the bombing based on witness descriptions of the enigmatic suspect "John Doe No. 2," who was the same height, build and complexion. The suspect was never identified.

"I did not start out to solve the Oklahoma City bombing, I started out for justice for my brother's murder," Jesse Trentadue said. "But along the way, every path I took, every lead I got, took me to the bombing."

The FBI says it can't find anything to suggest the videos exist, and says it would be "unreasonably burdensome" to do a search that would take a single staff person more than 18 months to conduct.

Jesse Trentadue's belief that the tapes exists stems from a Secret Service document written shortly after the bombing that describes security video footage of the attack that shows suspects - in plural - exiting the truck three minutes before it went off.

A Secret Service agent testified in 2004 that the log does, in fact, exist but that the government knows of no videotape. The log that the information was pulled from contained reports that were never verified, said Stacy A. Bauerschmidt, then-assistant to the special agent in charge of the agency's intelligence division.

Several investigators and prosecutors who worked the case told The Associated Press in 2004 they had never seen video footage like that described in the Secret Service log.

The FBI has released 30 video recordings to Trentadue from downtown Oklahoma City, but those recordings don't show the explosion or McVeigh's arrival in a rental truck.

If he wins at trial, Trentadue hopes to be able to search for the tapes himself rather than having to accept the FBI's answer that they don't exist.

Kathy Sanders and Jannie Coverdale, who both lost grandchildren in the bombing, are grateful for Trentadue's pursuit of the case. Sanders said she's been waiting 19 years to see the tapes.

"It is worth pursuing," Coverdale said. "I know there was somebody else. I have never stopped asking questions."

But former Oklahoma Rep. Susan Winchester, whose sister, Dr. Margaret "Peggy" Clark, was killed in the bombing, said she is satisfied that officials have identified everyone responsible for the bombing.

"I was very comfortable with the decisions that came out of the federal and state trials," Winchester said. "I have reached that point in my life where I can continue."

Jesse Trentadue's mission began four months after the bombing when his brother died at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons' Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. Kenneth Trentadue, 44, a convicted bank robber and construction worker, was brought there after being picked up for probation violations while coming back to the U.S. at the Mexican border, Jesse Trentadue said.

His death was officially labeled a suicide. But his body had 41 wounds and bruises that his brother believes were the result of a beating. In 2008, a federal judge awarded the family $1.1 million in damages for extreme emotional distress in the government's handling of the death, but the amount was reduced to $900,000 after an appeal.

Jesse Trentadue's best guess about the motive is that his brother died in an interrogation gone wrong by investigators demanding information Kenneth Trentadue didn't have.

Jesse Trentadue filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2008.

Going toe-to-toe with the federal government has come at a personal price for Jesse Trentadue, 67, who says he's lost time with his children and wife that he can't recover.

But he has no regrets, fueled by his love for his brother. Just three years apart, the two shared a bed, hunted coons together and played on the same sports teams growing up in a coal camp in West Virginia.

Their paths diverged as adults - Jesse becoming an attorney while Kenneth fell into drugs and crime - but the brotherly bond never broke. Before his death, Kenneth Trentadue had overcome his heroin addiction and had a newborn baby at home in San Diego, Jesse Trentadue said. The brothers spoke by phone from jail the night before his death, with the two discussing how he would soon be out.

"What I learned growing up in the coal fields is that you fight even when you know you can't win," he said. "Because you have to make a stand on some things. Justice for my brother is certainly one of them."

Read Full Story

People are Reading