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N4T Investigates: Jail officials criticizes handling of inmate's - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigates: Jail officials criticizes handling of inmate's death

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King Yates (Left) & Branden Roth (Right) King Yates (Left) & Branden Roth (Right)

Newly acquired internal documents obtained by News 4 Tucson show exactly what happened after the death of an inmate at the Pima County Jail.

Branden Roth was found dead in his cell April 19, shortly after that a long string of emails circulated between jail and sheriff's department staff.

Jail personnel described Roth's death as a "major incident."

Deputies say Roth was beaten to death by his cellmate King Yates.

In the emails, jail investigators say the motive was most likely prison affiliations.

Since his death, Roth's parents have questioned why their son was paired with a man accused of murder.

Roth was in jail on theft charges, Yates on charges of homicide.

"It seems like someone made a big mistake by putting those two together," said Roth's father, Rodney Walker.

In the emails, Pima County officials talk about why Roth and Yates were housed together.

When inmates come into the jail they are given a number based on their prior histories.

Roth was a 95, Yates was a 130, both were housed in a section of the jail that wasn't supposed to have anyone over a 125.

"Because of the nature of the space available in the jail, even though there was some disparity in that classification they were housed together, which is not uncommon. We can't have all 95s with all 95s we just don't have that kind of space," Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said in May.

News 4 Tucson also obtained an email from a jail chaplain criticizing how Roth's death was handled.

Roth's fiancee was also an inmate at the jail when Roth died. In an email, the chaplain says that while his staff was trying to console Roth's fiancee, investigators were trying to question her about Roth's death.

The chaplain describes the situation as "insensitive" and "not the ideal scenario."

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