The Latest: Man accused in 9 killings had bleak upbringing

January 19, 2018
A list of nine homicide victims all linked to a convicted felon is displayed by the Phoenix Police Department at a news conference on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz. Phoenix-area police have evidence linking 35-year-old Cleophus Cooksey Jr., already charged with killing his mother and stepfather, to seven additional homicides that occurred in a three-week span late last year. (AP Photo/Terry Tang)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on nine killings in the Phoenix area that have been linked to the same convicted felon (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

Court records paint a bleak picture of the upbringing of a man accused of fatally shooting nine people in metro Phoenix over a three-week period.

Cleophus Emmanuel Cooksey Jr. grew up in a household plagued by domestic violence, left home at age 16 to live with his girlfriend and was in prison three years later for a manslaughter conviction.

The records say he was physically abused as a child and took part in two robberies that sent him to prison for 13 years.

Cooksey has been charged with murder in the deaths of his mother and stepfather.

Authorities re-booked him Thursday in seven other killings, though he hasn’t yet been formally charged in those deaths.

Attorney Gary Beren, who represents Cooksey, did not immediately email and telephone messages Friday seeking comment


3:45 p.m.

The sisters and girlfriend of a man killed in a series of Phoenix-area shooting deaths have been arrested for taking that victim’s cellphone from the crime scene.

Court documents made public Thursday state that 26-year-old Liliana Vasquez, 24-year-old Griselda Vasquez and 23-year-old Desaree Monique Coronado were arrested last month on charges including hindering prosecution and evidence tampering.

The Maricopa County public defender’s office said Friday that Liliana Vasquez had not been assigned an attorney. The office had no information about attorneys for the other women.

Investigators say upon finding their brother, 25-year-old Jesus Real, shot dead in their Avondale home, the sisters took his cellphone and gave it to Coronado

The trio initially denied having the phone but a search warrant disputed their claims.

Police say Liliana Vasquez was the ex-girlfriend of the suspect, 35-year-old Cleophus Cooksey Jr.

Authorities say he shot Real and eight other people in a three-week span late last year.


12:35 a.m.

Phoenix police say no single piece of evidence led them to arrest a convicted felon in the shooting deaths of nine people over a three-week span late last year.

They say shell casings, cellphone records, DNA and even a piece of jewelry helped them link 35-year-old Cleophus Cooksey Jr. to the slayings that occurred in Phoenix and two neighboring suburbs.

He was arrested Dec. 17 at a Phoenix apartment where officers found his mother and stepfather. Both had been shot to death.

Cooksey was rebooked Thursday on additional murder charges and other crimes.

Authorities say the victims, who were shot between Nov. 27 and Dec. 17, range in age and gender.

Police are withholding a number of details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Cooksey is being held on $5 million bond.

Update hourly