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Oklahoma inmate who was forced to listen to 'Baby Shark' on loop found dead in his cell

By AYIE LICSI Published Sep 13, 2022 7:23 pm

An inmate who accused his jailers of torture by forcing him to repeatedly listen to "Baby Shark" for hours was found dead in his cell on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The Oklahoma County Jail said in a release that they found detainee John Basco, 48, unresponsive in his cell at approximately 3:52 a.m. He was pronounced dead later at 4:06 a.m. after emergency responders arrived. 

According to jail spokesman Mark Opgrande, there were no signs of foul play in Basco's death, and they are looking into the possibility of a drug overdose. He was booked into jail on a drug trafficking complaint.

This death would be the 14th of this year at the jail. In August, a 52-year-old inmate died of suicide and in July, a 50-year-old was found unresponsive in his cell.

In 2021, Basco and three other inmates sued the jail after they accused two former detention officers of forcing them to listen loudly to the popular children's song "Baby Shark" over and over for long periods of time. They were allegedly standing with their hands cuffed behind them to a wall as the music played on repeat.

Basco's attorney, Cameron Spradling, found the circumstances surrounding his death alarming.

"I'm really bothered by this," he said. "One of the 'Baby Shark' victims is conveniently dead within three days of his arrival at the jail. How does that happen? District Attorney David Prater just lost one of the witnesses for the upcoming trial. For me, this one does not pass the smell test."