Death Valley: Cops Bust Elderly Man in Connection With 1987 Murder


The Phoenix police cold case squad, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Office, arrested an elderly man at a long-term care facility in connection with a 1987 murder.

Cops say that on October 20, 1987, Roger Cook (pictured) pointed a .357 Magnum at two young men who had jumped a fence (UPDATE - the police report states the victim never jumped the fence) in his apartment complex at 617 North Third Avenue. Cook, described as a "paranoid" guy who had been known to confront people in the complex he thought were suspicious, fired a shot at 22-year-old Terrance Keenan, killing him. He then continued shooting at the other man, Richard Fair, but missed.

Police arrested Cook that evening, but a judge ordered the man released from jail after three days. Cops don't know now why Cook was released -- perhaps he had claimed the shooting was in self-defense. Yet both victims were unarmed. 


Cook disappeared after that, but authorities never forgot about his outstanding warrant. This summer, Phoenix police detective Mark Armistead tracked Cook to the care facility in Long Beach, California, where he was taken into custody and booked into a "hospital facility."

It's great that police may have brought the killer to justice, but it sounds like this ought to be one speedy trial if authorities want a conviction.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.