Woman wants answers about brother's death

Sunday, November 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- Nearly a year after her brother was stabbed in prison, Terri Harris still has questions about his death.

Ryan K. Herron was stabbed with prison-made knives in an exercise yard at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary during a fight between seven or eight inmates last December.

Afterward, authorities found four knives -- each with a blade 4 to 6 inches long.

Lee Mann, the warden's assistant, said several officers saw the fight from the beginning but had to wait for backup before going in to break it up. No officers were in the yard, normally occupied by up to 28 inmates, Mann said.

Inmates routinely go through a strip search when they leave their cells, but the knives were not found.

Herron's killing remains under investigation, DOC officials said.

"We're still waiting on DNA results," Deputy Warden Larry Rollerson said.

Jessica Brown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said evidence from Herron's killing was sent to the OSBI recently.

"These tests are expensive," she said. "You don't do them unless you're pretty sure you need the results."

Harris, who lives in Atlanta, said she plans to come to Oklahoma to look for answers about her brother's death.

"I just think something is wrong," she said. "It's taking too long."

Herron was serving a 25-year sentence for an Okmulgee County conviction of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He and co-defendant Timothy Jordan stomped and kicked a man in 1995, according to court records.

"He wasn't an angel," Harris said. "I won't even try to say that. But he never killed nobody. He never raped nobody. He just got into fights. And he didn't need to die."