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Death penalty sought against Phoenix man in half-brother’s death

PHOENIX — Maricopa County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a man charged with fatally stabbing his 12-year-old half-brother.

Prosecutors said 27-year-old Andrew Ward should face the death penalty in the March 12 killing of Austin Tapia because Ward killed a child in an especially cruel manner.

Investigators said Ward explained his motive by saying, “Honestly, I just felt like killing.”

Ward has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Tapia’s death.

While in jail, Ward was booked on suspicion of first-degree murder in the April 2 death of his cellmate at the Lower Buckeye Jail.

Investigators said Ward used a golf pencil to stab 33-year-old Douglas Walker in the eyes, beat him and forced a plastic bag and peanut butter sandwich down Walker’s throat.

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