An inmate death at the Oklahoma County Jail has now been ruled a homicide.
The state medical examiner said Ricky Windle, 53, died of blunt force trauma in February.
The hospital initially told Windle’s sons he died of heart failure, but they knew right away that he was the victim of an attack.
“We just wanted to get to the bottom of it and actually hear the truth,” said Chris Esker.
Windle had been at the Oklahoma County Jail for less than a month when his sons said he started having problems with other inmates. He was arrested in September for failing to register as a sex offender when he changed addresses, and his sons believe his past crimes made him a target.
Corey Windle said, “I don’t care what you’re in there for, what you did, nobody deserves that.”
Windle was hospitalized with a fractured skull and punctured lung in January, three days after he was moved to a single-person cell. The sheriff’s office would not confirm why Windle was transferred out of the general population, but his sons said they had expressed concern for his well-being after speaking with him on the phone.
Windle returned to the jail after his hospital stay. He was placed under supervision in the medical ward, again in a single-person cell. One of Windle's sons then got a menacing call from someone using his phone account, and the next week he was beaten to death.
“He’s in segregation for a reason,” said Corey. “How did somebody get to him? If he’s supposed to be in a cell by himself, how did somebody get to him?”
The sheriff's office told News 9's Jessi Mitchell that they have identified two inmates as suspects. One remains in the jail and the other is in a state prison, but they have not been identified yet. The investigation is now in the hands of OSBI agents, who will decide which charges to file with the district attorney.
Windle's sons said they finally feel a sense of closure.
“I hope this brings more light to what’s going on behind there that people aren’t aware of,” said Chris, “so I hope it does change a lot.”
The sheriff's office told News 9 in February that Windle's cell would have been checked multiple times a day and there is a monitor watching all the cells in the medical unit. When the investigation is complete, News 9 should learn if any corrections officers were involved Windle's death.