Local News

Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty in String of Killings

Posted January 3, 2008 4:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2008 4:38 p.m. EST

— Wake County prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a convicted felon accused of killing five people in a series of crime sprees dating back to May 2006.

Samuel James Cooper, 30, of Raleigh, was arrested and charged in November with five counts in connection with four Raleigh Police Department unsolved homicides and one Wake County Sheriff's Office homicide case.

Wake County sheriff's investigators say Cooper shot and killed Ossama "Sam" Haj-Hussein, 43, on May 12, 2006.

Raleigh police believe Cooper shot and killed LeRoy Jernigan, 41, of Clayton, less than a month later.

Cooper is also charged in the April 27 death of Timothy David Barnwell, 34; the Oct. 12 death of Ricky High, 48; and the Oct. 14 death of Tariq Hussain, 52.

He is also a suspect in one home invasion in Rockingham County and is charged in connection with another one there.

According to court records, Cooper has a criminal record dating from 1993 in Wake County. It includes 10 arrests, 19 charges, including assault on a police officer, escape from prison, robbery, assault on a female, drug charges and larceny.