McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

April 2, 2014

Daughter: Inmate had more than 100 wounds

A James Crabtree Correctional Center inmate died from more than 100 stab wounds, his daughter said she learned from the funeral home handling his cremation.

Sheryl Coleman viewed her father’s body on Wednesday, the same day an official from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed 61-year-old Timothy Dunivan died from multiple sharp force injuries.

“It was really bad. They tried to piece his face together, but they couldn’t so I only saw one side of him,” Coleman said. “There was only one stab in that one eye, underneath. It looked like they tried to cut his eyes out.”

Dunivan was found dead at the prison in Helena at about 8 a.m. Saturday.

The manner of Dunivan’s death is homicide, said Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer with the state medical examiner’s office, said in response to an Open Records Act request seeking autopsy records.

An autopsy report is pending, Elliott said.

Coleman said family members counted approximately 20 stab wounds on Dunivan’s face and learned he had wounds to his hands, arms, shoulders and back.

“The right eye, right in the corner of (his) eye, right in the eyelid, you could see there was a huge stab there,” she said. “And then the chin and the forehead.”

She said it appeared Dunivan had tried to protect himself with his hands.

“I just don’t understand how nobody could hear that,” Coleman said.

Coleman said she learned of her father’s death from the Crabtree warden on Saturday evening.

“All (the warden) said was that she was sorry to inform me that my father had passed away. They wouldn’t tell me any other information other than that,” Coleman said Tuesday.

At about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, she learned from the medical examiner’s office that Dunivan had been “brutally murdered.”

On Wednesday, Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie would not address Coleman’s comments about not being informed it was a homicide until Tuesday.

“It probably wouldn’t do any good for us to respond to them, at least not in the newspaper, anyway,” he said.

The suspect’s name still is not being released as the investigation continues, Massie said. He previously said the suspect was moved to a different facility following the homicide.

He said he expects the suspect’s name will be released “probably when charges are filed,” but he did not know when charges may be considered.

“It will probably be some period of time before we get any forensic results back,” Massie said.

He did not know how many staff members were on duty at the time of Dunivan’s death, and did not have information about previous threats made against Dunivan by other inmates.

Dunivan, who was serving three 50-year sentences after being convicted in 2005 of sexually abusing a minor in Tulsa County, received death threats early on in his incarceration at Crabtree, Coleman said. She said Dunivan told her in January he had started receiving threats again in October 2013.

James Crabtree Correctional Center officials would not comment following Dunivan’s death and referred all inquiries to Massie.

Budget constraints were requiring the center to have fewer employees, Warden Janet Dowling told Enid Noon AMBUCS in January.

At that time, Dowling said she had 60 correctional officers to oversee 1,010 inmates. Those officers work 12-hour shifts and 20 hours of mandatory overtime each week. She has 28 open positions at the facility and 61 support staff.

“I can tell you my staffing level on the best days is 15 on the day shift and 12 on the night shift to watch 1,010 inmates,” she said. “Recruitment and retention are a very large challenge for us, especially at the Department of Corrections.”

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