A man accused of killing his 12-year-old half-brother is now accused of killing his cellmate at the Lower Buckeye Jail in Phoenix. According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Andrew Ward was arrested Thursday after allegedly attacking his cellmate, Douglas Walker. MCSO said inmates on Wednesday night notified officers that a fight had occurred inside a locked cell around 7:30 p.m. When officers arrived at the cell, they found Walker on the floor bleeding.
MCSO said Walker had been beaten, stabbed with a golf pencil and had peanut butter smeared over his head. Paramedics told MCSO Walker's breathing was obstructed by a plastic bag around his nose and throat. Ward, 27, was removed from the area and subsequently admitted to officials that he choked and beat Walker. Ward told officers that he first tried to cut Walker's throat with a plastic playing card, then used a pencil to stab his cellmate's eyes and throat. The attack ended after Ward stuffed a plastic bag down Walker's throat. Ward told MCSO he had "no regrets" about the attack.
According to court records, Walker was awaiting an April 11 sentencing after he pleaded guilty last month to armed robbery. He had been in custody since November, the sheriff's office said.
Ward was arrested on March 12 after 12-year-old Austin Tapia was found at their home with multiple stab wounds. Police said the boy's mother and sisters were at dinner when the incident occurred and arrived home to find police on. When asked why he killed his brother, he reportedly said, "Honestly, I just felt like killing."
Ward is now being charged with first-degree murder for the death of Walker.
IS THE SHERIFF's OFFICE RESPONSIBLE? Possibly.
You see, when people are arrested and put in jail, they are "classified" by their jailers. The classification score depends upon several factors, but includes their both their criminal history as well as the nature of the crimes they are accused of. This is done so murderers are not put in the same cells as deadbeat dads. So armed robbers do not share space with drunk drivers. So assault crimes are not housed with loiterers. The jailers (MCSO deputies) have this responsibility and duty of oversight. As much as they have a duty to protect us from these violent offenders, they also have a duty to protect the inmates from the same. It is not and cannot be anarchy inside those walls. There must be common sense and there must be control and there must be order.
Should Ward, who killed his 12 year old brother on impulse because he "just felt like killing", have been housed with ANYONE? This us the question that MCSO must be investigating, and perhaps, the question that Mr. Walker's family should be asking.