Local News

Suspected killer's confession will stand

Posted December 17, 2009

— A Superior Court judge on Thursday denied a motion to suppress the confession of a convicted felon accused of killing five people in a string of robberies.

Attorneys for Samuel James Cooper filed the request earlier this year, saying their client was coerced into admitting to the crimes.

Authorities charged Cooper in the shooting deaths of LeRoy Jernigan, 41, Ossama "Sam" Haj-Hussein, 43; Timothy David Barnwell, 34; Ricky High, 48; and Tariq Hussain, 52. The slayings occurred between May 2006 and November 2007, when Cooper was arrested on a bank robbery charge.

After Cooper’s arrest, investigators found a 9 mm handgun that the State Bureau of Investigation linked to the slayings.

During a hearing last month on the motion to suppress, a Raleigh police detective testified that Cooper confessed after prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge against his father, who had been arrested on a charge of possession of a stolen firearm by a felon.

Cooper will go to trial on five counts of first-degree murder Feb. 1, Judge Henry Hight ruled Thursday.

The case was expected to go to trial earlier this year, but both the defense and prosecutors have continually asked for the date to be moved because of the massive amount of evidence to be reviewed.


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  • twc Dec 17, 2009

    Dick, I think due process has been allowed to drag on to the point justice has been jeopardized. The process needs to be overhauled so justice doesn't take 10 to 15 years.

    We can build numerous nuclear submarines in half the time.

  • Dick Dec 17, 2009

    "If the confession stands that should be the end of it , and him for that matter, why should the taxpaying citizens of this state pay for his defence when he has already confessed!"

    It's called 'due process', and YOU are guaranteed it under the US Constitution.

  • csplantlover Dec 17, 2009

    waste of human life!

  • bngexpress Dec 17, 2009

    if the confession stands that should be the end of it , and him for that matter, why should the taxpaying citizens of this state pay for his defence when he has already confessed!

  • twc Dec 17, 2009

    "What is wrong with people like this???

    That's something you'll have to ask his father; his abuse caused most of it. That's what was wrong. What's wrong now is he will not be punished for years--if then.

  • twc Dec 17, 2009

    I bet there would be quite a bit of shock if people realized that Central Prison is very much like a city within a city.

    Most any inmate will tell you that the only real suffering is being denied freedom. Other than the loss of freedom for many inmates it's a better life than they had in the world.

  • Just the facts mam Dec 17, 2009

    What is wrong with people like this???

  • twc Dec 17, 2009

    "twc I don't think you know anything about the prison system,
    iron fist"

    Indeed I do! I was being sarcastic. It is sad that he has any comfort!

    As far as knowledge of prison, I used to work behind the wall "rehabilitating" inmates, some of who may never see the free world again.

    Christmas time is their favorite time. Many, many food treats, etc.

  • BraveHeart Dec 17, 2009

    yes he will be nice and warm...singing carols and dont forget the monthly pizza partys they get at central prison

  • wildcat Dec 17, 2009

    Well looks like he got what he deserves. Happy prison life to him.