Phoenix murder defendant accused in cellmate death

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Phoenix man who told police he killed his 12-year-old half brother last month because he "just felt like killing" is now accused of fatally stabbing a cellmate, authorities said Thursday.

Andrew Ward, 27, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in the Wednesday night killing of cellmate Douglas Walker, 33, in a Maricopa County jail in Phoenix, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Walker was stabbed in the eyes with a golf pencil, the statement said. His throat was cut with a plastic playing card, he was beaten, and his head was smeared with peanut butter. Paramedics later discovered that his breathing passages were obstructed by a plastic bag and a peanut butter sandwich that was forced down Walker's throat, the Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a news conference Thursday that despite Ward's reported indifference in the killing of his half brother, psychiatric experts had evaluated him when he was brought to jail and cleared him.

"We have about 400 alleged murderers in our jails," the sheriff said. "Do you think I have room to give every alleged murderer a private room? No."

Officers discovered Walker's injuries when they went to the locked cell after inmates said there was a fight, the Sheriff's Office said.

Ward immediately admitted to detectives that he had choked and beaten Walker, the statement said. "Ward told sheriff's detectives that he had no regrets for the attack," it said.

Ward previously pleaded not guilty in the March 12 killing of his half brother, Austin Tapio. Ward was arrested after calling 911 from a convenience store near his family's home. The boy had multiple stab wounds.

Police said when asked why he killed the boy, Ward said, "Honestly, I just felt like killing."

It wasn't clear why Ward had a cellmate given his recent history of violence. When he was arrested in the sibling killing, police said Ward asked to go to a mental hospital and not jail.

"That is the million-dollar question," said Walker's attorney, Diego Rodriguez, adding that he had yet to hear from the Sheriff's Office about his client's death.

"He certainly didn't deserve an end like this. I am shocked and saddened by it," Rodriguez said.

Marci Kratter, Ward's defense lawyer in the March killing, declined to comment on the new allegations. "I have very little information at this time," she said.

The Sheriff's Office said Ward and Walker had been housed together the past three weeks in the Lower Buckeye Jail.

"Prior to the March arrest, Ward had been in jail on 11 different occasions since 2006 with no major disciplinary problems or notable institutional history," the office's statement said.

According to court records, Walker had been in custody since November and was awaiting an April 11 sentencing after he pleaded guilty last month to armed robbery.

Walker and an accomplice were accused of robbing a man in a fast-food restaurant's parking lot last September, threatening him with a knife and an air rifle. They demanded money from the victim and took his iPhone, which they later tried to sell, court documents show.

Rodriguez said his client was looking at a presumptive prison sentence of 3 1/2 years.

"He was anxious to get that behind him and move on," Rodriguez said.

In mid-January, an inmate at the same jail was fatally beaten and stabbed with a small pencil by his cellmate.

The Sheriff's Office said Nike Black is charged with killing John Klatt and that the two had no known previous conflicts.

Klatt, 50, was awaiting trial on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, while Black, 20, faced charges of domestic violence, assault and criminal trespassing. Black now also faces a murder charge.

___

Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud and Walter Berry contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Top Stories

  • Threat: 10-30-14
    Extra police are on duty & students stay home over an Auburn high school shooting threat

  • Hot Seats
    With Seahawks home games 'sold out' the ticket price of this seat doesn't seem so bad

  • Microsoft's Latest
    Microsoft releases a band that monitors more than just your fitness
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.