Man sentenced to death for murder of fellow inmate

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PHOENIX — A man was sentenced to death Tuesday for the murder of another inmate in Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail.

Pete Van Winkle, 27, was convicted November 9 of first-degree murder for the May 1, 2008 beating death of 28-year-old Robert Cotton.

Surveillance video from inside the jail showed Van Winkle choking Cotton, stomping on his neck and beating his head into the concrete floor. The beating continued even though Cotton was limp and did not appear to be resisting.

The murder raised questions about security in the jail because the attack went unnoticed by detention officers for more than 15 minutes. The county eventually paid $500,000 to settle a $2 million claim filed by Cotton's family.

In a separate case, a judge sentenced Van Winkle to 22 years in prison for attempted second degree murder and 2.5 years in prison for misconduct involving weapons. Both sentences will run consecutive to the death sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.