An Arizona man, Cleophus Cooksey Jr., 35, has been accused of a murder spree in which he allegedly killed nine people in three weeks, making him the most prolific serial killers in the Arizona history.
Cooksey was arrested on Dec. 17, 2017, after police responded to a call of shots fired in Phoenix, AZ. When officers arrived they found Cooksey’s mother and stepfather dead.
However, Cooksey was not linked to the other murders that took place within those 3 weeks until he was in custody, police said Thursday.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, investigators used shell casings to link the other murders to him using new technology which allowed officers to determine that the evidence they obtained linked them to the suspect quickly.
Cooksey was charged with a total of nine counts of first degree murder, as well as being a prohibited possessor, theft of a firearm, armed robbery and sexual assault, police said.
According to AZ Central, Cooksey’s other alleged victims include men and women of black, white and Hispanic race and ethnicity.
The victims include:
– Two men, Andrew Remillard, 27, and Parker Smith, 21, who were discovered dead Nov. 27.
– One man, Salim Richards, 35, was found critically wounded on Dec. 2, and later died at the scene. It was not immediately clear if Richards knew the suspect. Police said there were signs of a robbery at the crime scene and a handgun appeared to have been taken.
– On Dec. 11, Jesus Bonifacio Real, 25, the brother of Cooksey’s former girlfriend, was killed.
– On Dec. 13, Latorrie Beckford, 29, was shot and killed.
– On Dec. 16, 2017, Kristopher Cameron, 21, was discovered shot to death in a field. Police said Cameron appeared to have met with the suspect for a drug interaction. On the same day, Maria Villanueva, 43, was found dead. Villanueva was allegedly kidnapped from her car after the suspect approached her vehicle. The two allegedly drove off before Villanueva was found dead with signs of sexual assault, police said.