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Attorney Randal Craig Talks About New Developments in the Cleophus Cooksey, Jr. Murder Case

Cleophus Cooksey, Jr. was recently charged with 8 murders, instead of the nine murders he was accused of committing. A Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesperson revealed that Prosecutors are still reviewing the homicide case of Jesus Real. On December 11, 2017, Real was found to be dead in his Avondale apartment. This new development in Cooksey’s case is just one more wrinkle in an already complex case that appears be getting even more complicated.

Attorney Randal Craig, who previously represented Mark Goudeau, the so-called “Baseline Killer” who was convicted in 2010 of nine murders and 15 sexual assaults, had this to say about the new developments in Cooksey’s case: “You've got those multiple charges that may come on as a result of the finding of additional evidence or perhaps just additional crimes that the defendant may be tied to.”

According to Attorney Craig, the defense team for Cooksey will likely attempt to dive into the defendant’s past in order to paint a picture for the jury. Craig says that, “in some cases you may have mental health issues” or the defendant “suffered some kind of abuse as a child.” Generally speaking, Mr. Craig says, “There's always a story of how that particular defendant got to where he's at.”

As of now, Cooksey Jr. is expected to be arraigned on March 9th. After his arraignment, prosecutors will have 60 days to file a notice with the court if they decide to pursue the death penalty.

Attorney Craig believes that the death penalty will likely be pursued by the prosecution. However, he also says that getting jurors to see and understand the past of the defendant can potentially spare Cooksey’s life if convicted. “[Jurors] want a reason not to impose death,” says Craig. “Sometimes there is no reason.”

The defense attorney in Cooksey’s case is expected to challenge the method police used to connect all of the crime scenes. Police say they used newer technology to connect shell casings from the crime scenes to the 9 mm Glock that investigators took from Cooksey at the time of his arrest. According to Attorney Craig, “The trick for the state, however, is to show that one particular firearm was actually used as opposed to multiple firearms.”

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