Aryan Brother Prison Gang Murder In Arizona Jail



it was the night of May 1st and surveillance cameras rolled as five inmates were having what appears to be a heated conversation in a jail rec room the time is 8:12 p.m. at 8:13 they leave the room another camera catches one of the inmates limping up the stairs his name is Robert cotton and he doesn't know it but he's about to be murdered at 8:14 inmate Pete van winkle follows cotton up the stairs and into Van Winkle's cell it looks like they're having a conversation then they disappear off camera at 8:15 you can see legs on the ground they're struggling 816 Van Winkle is choking cotton from behind 8 17 another inmate walks by the cell and glances inside he just moves on and there's no sign of a guard anywhere 819 Van Winkle starts smashing Cotton's head into the ground he does this 19 times cotton is not fighting back he's not even moving at 8:20 Van Winkle begins stomping on Cotton's head it's now been five minutes since this vicious attack began and the jail guards are nowhere in sight eight twenty four and Van Winkle appears to be looking directly at the surveillance camera nobody's looking back the attack continues for another five minutes then at 8:30 Van Winkle drags cotton out of the cell and onto the balcony inmates later tell investigators Van Winkle yelled who wants to hear what this expletive sounds like falling off the balcony it's 8:32 and Van Winkle starts kicking cotton again cotton hasn't moved in more than 15 minutes at 8:33 Van Winkle calmly walks away he heads downstairs and lies down face-first on the ground at 8:30 four guards finally storm in a full 20 minutes after the assault began and Robert cotton is dead where was the guard who was supposed to be monitoring the camera that's the big question that's the biggest question we showed the video to Jess Torres a security consultant and former police officer somebody wasn't doing their job Torres says that even though the video images of Van Winkle's strangling and beating cotton appear unclear and out-of-focus to a jail guard it should have been clear something was going on they're trained to notice and they're paid to notice so yes I believe that they should have noticed we've learned Pete Van Winkle was awaiting trial for attempted murder and is a member of a dangerous and violent prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood Robert cotton was awaiting trial for auto theft he was just robbed he was just just another guy that had some hard times that was trying to get through him Scott Appleby is Cotton's brother he says cotton was never violent and although he was in jail he had recently taken steps to turn his life around he left behind two daughters one of them with special needs I talked to him two nights before he died if there was any inkling of him being afraid or that somebody was after him he told me inmate interviews in this 500-page Sheriff's Office investigation point to one possible explanation for the killing van winkle was working for the Aryan Brotherhood and was sent to the cellblock to beat up cotton because cotton refused to beat up another inmate the investigation leaves several questions unanswered what was said in the rec room before the murder was this an Aryan Brotherhood trial why would cotton voluntarily walk into the cell belonging to the man who was about to kill him and why did it take 20 minutes for detention officers to finally rush into the cell block sheriff joe arpaio is in charge of the jail he refused to talk to us about this case but his office sent this news release the day after the murder it says nothing out of the ordinary appeared to be happening in or around that cell but once Van Winkle dragged cotton out of the cell the tension officers rushed to the scene the video tells a different story even if the guards missed first 15 minutes of the beating inside the cell it still took them five minutes to respond after Van Winkle dragged cotton out of the cell

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