OKLAHOMA CITY - Four Oklahoma County jail inmates will go to trial for the July 18 beating death of Maurice Pendleton, 36. The deadly attacked happened on a basketball court on the eighth floor of the jail.

The victim's family sat through the court hearing Friday. They showed their full support for the victim and want the public to know he had a family and aspirations.

“He was a gainfully employed individual,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, Pendleton family attorney. “A college student, he was a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a friend and a fiancé.”

At times, the hearing for Pendleton's attackers was too much for family members to hear.

The four inmates charged with murdering the 36-year-old pleaded not guilty to second degree murder. The state called five witnesses to testify about the July 18 deadly beating. Martaveous Gillioms, Antonio Ligons, Todd Miller and Hareth Hameed were brought to a closed basketball court prior to their jail disciplinary hearings. Gillioms, Ligons and Miller are known gang members and were being questioned about attacking rival gang members in a cell.

Pendleton, who also had gang affiliations in the past, was brought to the basketball court for a separate hearing. A witness said Gillioms asked Pendleton about his gang affiliations and shortly after Ligons threw the first punch. The witness said Pendleton beat on the door yelling for help and tried to escape the attackers but was outnumbered. 

The attorney representing Pendleton’s family wants to know why he was placed in harm’s way.

“Why was Maurice locked into a place without any protection,” said Solomon-Simmons. “Any defense from individuals they knew, they knew for a fact were actually going to attack and beat him?”

Three of the attackers also face additional gang charges. The pre-trial is set for Jan. 17.