Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; trial to begin Monday in Salt Lake City
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."
McCombs reported from Salt Lake City. Follow Brady McCombs at https://twitter.com/BradyMcCombs
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