The first week of the Dan Triplett murder trial took another twist on Thursday when he took the witness stand. He is facing charges for the killing death of his employee, Brent Mack, and burying him under a septic tank.
Mack was reported missing to the Guthrie Police Department on Sept. 29, 2021 after his daughter said that no one had seen or heard from him since Sept. 20.
The Chris Evans Podcast provides analysis and testimony from the courtroom each day. They can be viewed on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. Each podcast can also be found in this GNP article.
12 jurors and two alternate jurors were selected on Monday. The jury pool consists of four white females, a black male, and seven white men. The two alternates are two white men.
The Logan County District Attorney’s Office gave their opening statement on Tuesday morning, while Triplett’s attorney reserved his statement until after prosecutors presented their case. A method that is not commonly used.
The first witness called in the case was Mack’s daughter who said she messaged Triplett after she was unable to get in contact with her father. Triplett return her message saying he had fired Mack, dropped him off at a local laundromat, and given him $1,000 as a severance.
Triplett shared the same story with multiple law enforcement officers, including a 65-minute interview with police on Oct. 12, despite multiple cameras not backing up Triplett’s story. Testimony later by Triplett himself proved he was lying.
Triplett told investigators that the last time he and Mack worked together was on a property in Crescent. However, following a document search warrant at Triplett’s Guthrie home, two receipts were found for a job in Mulhall on Sept. 20. The same day Mack stopped responding to phone calls and text messages.
A nearby camera spotted two men working on the septic tank on the property in Mulhall. On Oct. 21, authorities removed the septic tank and found the remains of Mack. On the same day, Triplett was taken into custody at his home and was later charged with first-degree murder and desecration of a human corpse.
Guthrie Lt. Michael Schmit testified they found Mack’s decaying body under the installed septic tank. Prosecutors said Mack was buried nine feet below the surface and three feet below the septic tank. He was found wearing his work gloves and boots.
An autopsy by the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office states that Mack died from a gunshot wound to the upper back. His death was ruled as a homicide due to a gunshot wound to the back, fractured ribs, and a perforated lung.
Two additional search warrants were conducted on Triplett’s property. This time to try and find a murder weapon matching the bullet that was found in Mack’s chest cavity. Six guns were processed but none matched.
After the state rested its case, Triplett’s attorney Ronald Wallace gave his opening statement and told jurors that Triplett acted in self-defense, killed and buried Mack, and lied to police.
The first witness to be called by the defense was Triplett.
“I’m not guilty of murder. I’m guilty of self-defense,” Triplett said. “And I’m guilty of burying the body.”
Triplett told prosecutors he did not want to tell investigators because it would have hurt his reputation, he was embarrassed.
“I freaked out. It was my bad,” Triplett said.
Triplett said that Mack jumped down into the hole, while prosecutors had said that Mack fell into the hole after being shot.
Triplett claims once Mack was down in the hole, he went down himself using a ladder. Triplett said Mack argued with him and complained he wanted to leave for the day. Triplett told Mack this was his last day on the job.
Triplett said this made Mack angry.
Triplett said Mack, while still wearing thick work gloves, pulled out a snub-nosed revolver and aimed it at Triplett and said “you’re not going to leave me homeless.” Triplett said his “fight-or-flight” responses kicked in and immediately slapped Mack’s hand down causing one of the rounds to be fired off. After a brief scuffle resulting in two more rounds being fired off, Triplett said he got the gun. Triplett then used his shoulder to hit Mack’s shoulder, was able to wrench the gun away, and shot him in the back.
Triplett said he then checked for a pulse, saw that his eyes had “greyed over” and knew he was dead. Triplett added that if Mack had a pulse he would have called an ambulance.
Prosecutors questioned Mack as being younger and stronger than Triplett. Triplett said he was powered by adrenaline.
Triplett testified that he threw the gun onto his flatbed trailer and forgot about the weapon. He says the gun must have bounced off on the side of a road.
“I freaked out. If I called the Sheriff we wouldn’t be here in this courtroom,” Triplett said. He later testified that he knew “he was going to get found out.”
Prosecutors questioned Triplett of having extra relationships, intimate text messages, including nude photos, and taking cash-only jobs.
“Did Brent Mack accuse you of having an affair,” prosecutors asked. Triplett said Mack accused him once. He was asked if Triplett had a girlfriend, to which he said “No.”
Triplett told prosecutors that he deleted several messages from his phone due to his phone maxing out on storage.
Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to take place on Tuesday.
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