Phoenix Police: Double-Killing Suspect Tied To 7 More Deaths

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 11:08am
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 5:23pm
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)
Cleophus Cooksey

Phoenix police say a 35-year-old man is responsible for nine murders at the end of 2017.

Officers arrested Cleophus Cooksey Jr. in December on suspicion of killing his mother and stepfather. He’s remained in jail since and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Thursday, Phoenix police announced they’d booked Cooksey for seven other murders. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will decide whether to bring charges in those cases.

Cooksey is an aspiring musician who previously spent about 16 years in prison, police said. He was arrested on Dec. 17, when Phoenix police responded to a call of shots fired at an apartment. Officers found two bodies, detained Cooksey and noticed the suspect acting strangely.

“At the end of the day, what this came down to was a patrol officer answering a call for service and doing the right things,” Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John said.

Phoenix, Glendale and Avondale police quickly started sharing information on a string of homicides that started in late November. They got additional support from federal agencies, and detectives loaded clues into a national system for analyzing gun crime evidence.

“Law enforcement was able to use this technology to link at least nine homicides around the Valley to a single suspect,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said.

Police say the investigations into the killings remain open, and they want to talk with anyone with information.

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