Family of murdered inmate looking for answers - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Family of murdered inmate looking for answers

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The biggest question Branden Roth’s family is now asking is how their son, who was accused of theft, would be in the same cell with an accused murderer.

“Seems like someone made a big mistake by putting those two together,” said Rodney Walker, Roth’s father.

Branden Roth, 24, and King Yates, 23, had been rooming together for several weeks prior to the incident, according to Chief Byron Gwaltney, corrections commander for the Pima County Sheriff's Department. 

“We had to sit him down and explain to him that's why in public places he would always have it covered up. I think he knew it was a mistake by getting it,” Rodney said.

“He wasn't raised to be prejudiced. He didn't understand what the flag was,” said Carrie Walker, Branden’s mother.

The parents say that alone should've been an indication to corrections officers.

“We don't segregate our inmates based on race or origin or any of those factors,” Gwaltney said.

When asked if it was a mistake to put Roth and Yates together, Gwaltney said, “I told you, our internal investigation is designed to answer those very questions.”

Roth’s parents admit their son was no angel. He served 18 months in prison. His mom says he was not a violent person.

“He was alive and well when we got him out of prison. He goes to county and a week later he’s murdered,” Carrie said.

“When an incident like this happens, it deeply affects all of us,” Gwaltney said.

The parents added, “Someone made a big mistake and it cost my son his life.”

The family is left to wonder what life would be like without Branden and what life will be like for his three-week old son named after his grandfather, Joseph.

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