Oklahoma Jury Awards $6.5M to Family of Slain Inmate

June 27, 2011

A Comanche County jury has awarded $6.5 million in damages to the family of a man who died at a Lawton prison.

Jurors concluded that GEO Group employees failed to protect Ronald Sites while he was being held at the Lawton Correctional Facility. Sites’ cellmate strangled him in January 2005.

The Lawton Constitution reports that Robert Cooper was convicted of manslaughter in Sites’ death, but the trial judge called for an investigation into the events that led up to the killing.

Attorneys for Sites’ children said a traumatic brain injury impaired Sites’ behavioral skills, and he shouldn’t have been housed with Cooper.

GEO Group’s attorneys argued that employees didn’t have any reason to foresee Cooper’s actions, and Sites’ inability to get along with other prisoners contributed to his death.

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