Yes, this is a bit confusing, Van Winkle beat up Summerlin (sex offender see video) in January, then this article goes on to show that Van Winkle murdered Cotton (non sex offender). Van Winkle's comment: "He's a sex offender. I had to do it," Van Winkle told officers."
The man accused of beating an inmate to death in Maricopa County Jail last May brutally assaulted another inmate in jail in January, with both incidents occurring under the watch of the same detention officer.
Sheriff's officials released information about Pete Van Winkle's alleged January assault of Warren Summerlin on Thursday morning in response to an Arizona Republic records request.
Van Winkle is also accused of beating Robert Cotton to death on May 1, 2008, in the Fourth Avenue Jail.
Video surveillance of that attack showed a man officials said is Van Winkle attempting to drop Cotton's body onto a recreation yard one floor below. Detention officers moved Van Winkle to the jail's Special Management Unit, an area reserved for some of the county's most dangerous criminals.
Van Winkle was charged with Cotton's murder. Cotton was in jail at the time on drug and vehicle theft charges.
Warren Summerlin was housed in a state corrections facility until July, but was back in county custody while he was awaiting a plea agreement and re-sentencing his 1981 sexual assault and murder of a bill collector in Phoenix.
The two men should have never crossed paths, but Jack MacIntyre, a chief deputy with the Sheriff's Office, said a malfunctioning light bulb laid the groundwork for the January attack.
Summerlin was just finishing up his time in the recreation area that separates each cell in the Special Management Unit at about 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 when the detention officer opened the door to allow Summerlin back into his cell.
But the inmate stayed in the recreation area, MacIntyre said.
Unaware that Summerlin was still in the recreation area, the detention officer opened Van Winkle's cell door to allow him into the small exercise area the two cells share.
Within moments, MacIntyre said, the detention officer realized something was wrong.
"He heard it and went after it right away," MacIntyre said of the officer's response.
The officer sounded the alarm and within minutes, deputies arrived on the scene to find Summerlin lying on the floor, bleeding from his face and attempting to crawl out the door.
Van Winkle was standing nearby, his jail stripes covered in blood, the report states.
Detention officers secured Van Winkle and got medical attention for Summerlin.
"He's a sex offender. I had to do it," Van Winkle told officers.
The assault occurred less than a year after Van Winkle allegedly murdered Cotton.
The same detention officer was in the control tower for both incidents, a fact MacIntyre deemed a simple coincidence.
"He's the guy who wanted the lighting replaced. I think he feels worse than anybody," MacIntyre said. "He believed he had moved (Summerlin) back in the cell before he moved (Van Winkle) in."
MacIntyre said the officer followed jail policies and that the assault would have never taken place if facilities personnel had filled a request to fix lighting in the area, which was made more than a week earlier.
Summerlin was moved back to Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence within a month of his assault.
Van Winkle was locked down for 24 hours a day until recently, MacIntyre said, and he now resides in a cell on the Special Management Unit where only he can access his recreation area. ..News Source.. by JJ Hensley