LAWTON, Okla._One day after the Medical Examiner ruled a Lawton man's death in police custody as an accident, the mother of his children speaks out.
According to the autopsy report, 32-year-old Anthony Binder died of "acute cocaine toxicity" complicated by cardiovascular disease and obesity. But the report also classifies Binder's death as violent, unusual or unnatural with evidence of blunt force trauma. It's all of this new information that is leading his family to search for answers to better understand what led up to his death.
Atari Steele says it has been six months since Anthony's death but this report has reopened the wounds and has left her with even more questions. She went back to the August night that has forever changed her life in an attempt to set the record straight and to call for more investigation into the incident surrounding his death.
"It has been long. We have our good days our bad days, but all in all we just want closure. We want justice and that is all that we can ask for," said Steele.
Six months later and she still doesn't understand how Binder's short trip down the street to this house could lead to his death.
"How could he come in tell me he was okay to go ask for a cigarette and then 30 or 45 minutes later he is in irate situation or state of mind and then the next minute he is gone," questioned Steele.
It was inside this home that people called police, saying Binder was acting in a fit of rage but Steele says she never saw that behavior from him that night. Contrary to previous reports, she says she walked into the home just before police to find Binder non-combative and on the ground, yelling for help.
"He was just like trying to gasp for air and he was just saying ‘Atari I love you. Take care of my kids. I love you. I am so sorry'," recalled Steele.
While she has always been concerned about what led up to Binder's death, the autopsy report is now giving her further reason to believe foul play.
"I am shocked completely. If that was the case of him acting irate because of whatever he had in him at the time, I could understand that and accept that. But because there is substantial evidence saying that he has blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso and bite marks and contusions. I want answers," said Steele.
Answers she is hopeful will allow her to better explain Binder's death to their children.
"I want justice. I want for whoever had an act in this, participation in it that they pay for it. Because I have to pay for the hurt and the pain my kids feel for not having a father," demanded Steele.
Steele says she is not pointing fingers at anyone but wants everyone there that night to be investigated. She says regardless of the situation, Binder did not deserve to suffer such violent wounds, wounds she knows he did not have prior to the incident.
These are the answers that she knows will give her and her family the closure they need to move on.
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