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Outlook man suspect in inmate’s death

Detectives use jail video to track suspects

— An Outlook man is one of two suspects in the death of a Yakima County inmate yesterday.

Timothy M. Denton, 27, of Yakima was found dead Wednesday morning in his fourth floor cell in the Yakima County Jail.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office have two inmates, who are murder suspects in Denton’s death, 19-year-old Hilario Sosa of Outlook and Erick Garcia Romero, 25, of Yakima.

Sosa and Romero will appear in court today for a preliminary hearing.

Denton suffered “… significant trauma to the upper body,” County Sheriff Sgt. Mike Russell said.

Investigators suspect Denton was stabbed in his cell about 13 hours after he was booked into the jail, documents show.

He was booked at 9:40 p.m. May 10 and stabbed at about 10:45 a.m. the next day.

The stabbing is believed to be gang related, Russell said.

The number “14” appeared to be painted on the wall of Denton’s cell, documents said.

A makeshift knife was protruding from his abdomen, court documents show.

There were a number of other stab wounds in Denton’s chest and his throat.

Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins will conduct an autopsy today.

Denton was in jail on an assault charge, after being arrested by Yakima Police and the Violent Offender Task Force.

Investigators interviewed jail staff and inmates yesterday.

Russell said the Sheriff’s Office also obtained and viewed Yakima County Department of Corrections surveillance video that aided in identifying those involved and the nature of what took place.

Documents show the pair were standing near Denton’s cell at the time of a cell check. They were recorded “walking briskly and directly to Mr. Denton’s cell” after a Department of Corrections officer left the area, documents show.

Sosa was also recorded walking out of the cell, making two slashing motions across his neck, “apparently indicating death,” documents said.

Romero was also recorded leaving the cell “with hands and arms that appear to be covered with blood,” records show.

The Yakima County Department of Corrections is conducting an independent internal investigation, Russell said.

Denton’s death, possibly at the hands of rival gang members, comes a week after the state Supreme Court overturned convictions for three Lower Yakima Valley men accused of shooting a Sunnyside man.

The court ordered a new trial for the men because prosecutors submitted as evidence documentation from Sunnyside Jail identifying the suspects’ gang affiliation.

Inmates processed into the city jail can voluntarily indicate gang affiliation on the form so they are housed separately from rival gang members.

“We are careful how we place our folks,” Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera said after the court’s decision. “We have to keep the peace in the

pods.”

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