MCSO: Inmate killed in Lower Buckeye Jail

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by Christina O'Haver

azfamily.com

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 3:59 PM

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says a Lower Buckeye Jail inmate was killed by his cellmate Saturday morning.

About 7:12 a.m., 20-year-old Nike Black reportedly called detention officers and said his cellmate, 50-year-old John Klatt, was not breathing.

Detention officers and jail medical staff found Klatt lying in a small pool of blood, apparently beaten and stabbed in the eye with a small pencil, according to the sheriff's office.

Detention officers, jail staff and fire paramedics tried to revive Klatt, but he was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Arpaio said Saturday that Black would likely be charged with murder in Klatt's death.

"When you look at the evidence, it had to be the 20-year-old," he said.

Arpaio said Black did not make a confession when he was interviewed by detectives but no other inmates were able to get inside the cell at the time. Arpaio said there are video cameras in the area.

Both Black and Klatt were considered minimum security inmates. Arpaio said they began sharing a cell around December.

Klatt was incarcerated Sept. 17 on 16 counts of sexual exploitation with minors. Black was in jail on domestic violence charges.

"I'm a little concerned about the weapon," Arpaio said. "I remember years ago we used to have long pencils. We cut it because that could be a dangerous weapon. ... Just with that small pencil, he was still able to stab the victim in the eyeball."

Arpaio said there was not much jail staff could have done to prevent the death.

Detention officers reportedly did a walk-through of the cell block about 6:50 a.m. and everything was calm between the two inmates.

"We don't like losing anybody in jail," Arpaio said. "It's unfortunate this incident occurred. Not much we could have done about this."

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