Family of inmate killed in jail settles case for $500,000

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PHOENIX -- The family of a man killed by another inmate while in Fourth Avenue Jail will be getting $500,000 after settling a lawsuit against the county.

Family gets $500,000

Family of inmate killed in jail settles case for $500,000 - The family of a man killed by another inmate while in Fourth Avenue Jail will be getting $500,000 after settling a lawsuit against the county.

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The family of Robert Cotton filed a $2 million notice of claim in September. Cotton, who was 28, was beaten to death on May 1, 2008, by Pete Van Winkle, and the entire thing was caught on tape. Cotton and Van Winkle were in an upstairs cell in the jail's closed-custody unit at the time of the attack. The closed-custody unit is where inmates who have a history of violence, mental illness or protective orders held.

While the sheriff's office said it did nothing wrong and Cotton's death could not have been prevented, the Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday to settle the case, calling the decision a business judgment.

According to the sheriff's office, the county took the case to an arbitrator and learned that the cost of trying the case would have been significantly more than the $500,000 settlement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.