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Oklahoma County jury begins deliberations in deadly RV fire

Jury deliberations begin in child neglect trial of Del City father Christopher Dunham, whose three children died Jan. 4, 2011, in a recreational vehicle fire.
by Tim Willert Modified: May 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm •  Published: May 10, 2012

Jury deliberations are under way in the child neglect trial of a Del City tow truck driver whose three children died in a fire in a locked recreational vehicle.

Christopher Dunham was at work when the fire started inside a motor home behind his mother's house. His wife, Stephanie Dunham, told authorities she was inside the house when the fire began. She has pleaded no contest to criminal charges in the case.

Killed in the Jan. 4, 2011, fire were Christopher L. Dunham, 4; Crystal Ann Dunham, 3; and Kailey Mae Dunham, 1.

Experts for both sides testified the cause of the fire was undetermined.

In their closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors said the defendant was well aware of his wife's drug use and bipolar condition. They argued that he knew about the lock on the door because he replaced it himself and acknowledged locking the kids in the RV on occasion to “get away.”

“We're going to hold you responsible,” Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Pamela Stillings told the defendant. “It's neglect.”

Christopher Dunham, prosecutors added, was “put on notice” by neighbors who said the kids ran around unattended and their mother “roughed them up.”

“He knew those kids were locked in that motor home,” Assistant District Attorney SuAnne Carlson said. “Those children had no way to exit that inferno.”

Carlson dismissed claims by defense attorney Robert Sisson that the motor home door was unlocked on the day of the fire, even though a fire investigator testified Dunham told him it was.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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