Arizona

Bill Montgomery Wants Death Penalty for Accused Arizona Serial Killer Cleophus Cooksey Jr.

On December 17, Phoenix police responded to shots fired in the 1300 block of East Highland Avenue. That’s where Renee Cooksey, the suspect’s 56-year-old mother, and her husband, Edward Nunn, lay dead.
On December 17, Phoenix police responded to shots fired in the 1300 block of East Highland Avenue. That’s where Renee Cooksey, the suspect’s 56-year-old mother, and her husband, Edward Nunn, lay dead. Phoenix PD
Arizona prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Cleophus Cooksey Jr., the man police say shot to death nine people between Thanksgiving and Christmas, culminating with his mother and her boyfriend.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed the motion, which was widely expected, Wednesday.

If the motion is granted, it means that office will be engaged in prosecuting two death penalty cases of serial killers simultaneously.

click to enlarge Cleophus Cooksey Jr. of Phoenix is charged with eight murders, police say, all of which happened in November and December, mostly involving victims he knew. - PHOENIX PD
Cleophus Cooksey Jr. of Phoenix is charged with eight murders, police say, all of which happened in November and December, mostly involving victims he knew.
Phoenix PD
County Attorney Bill Montgomery is also seeking the death penalty against Aaron Juan Saucedo, the man police say is the Maryvale Shooter.


Cooksey, a 35-year-old Phoenix man, was released from state prison in July after serving a 16-year sentence for his role in a fatal stick-up at a Phoenix strip club.

Four months after he got out, police say, he began an orgy of violence, killing people he mostly knew. Many had been in court on drug charges. One was the brother of his girlfriend. Two were apparently unknown to him: an armed security guard and a woman who police say he raped, killed, and dumped in an alley in a crime of opportunity.

In its 13-page court filing, county prosecutors cite Cooksey's long criminal history, that his slayings were cruel and inflicted pain and anguish on his victims.
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Sean Holstege is a freelance reporter with a 30-year career in print news. He was an investigative reporter at The Arizona Republic and the Oakland Tribune. He won a Sigma Delta Chi award for investigative reporting. He’s covered transportation, terrorism, the border, disasters, child welfare, courts, and breaking news.
Contact: Sean Holstege