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The Death of Sam Cooke
taken from a website set up by Sam Cookes family:

The following article examines the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the famous American singer and was taken from a website set up by his family

Sam Cooke   Listen to Sam Cookes songs

So many unanswered questions, and distasteful events lead many to believe that Sam's death was no accident at all:

  • Sam Cooke was the first black man to own and operate his own successful record label, and he was under increasing pressure from unscrupulous forces to sell. Some believe he was getting too powerful for the powers that be.

  • His jewelry, credit cards and drivers license were stolen at the time of his death.

  • He had not been drinking excessively or taking narcotics

  • He was beaten with a broomstick

  • No one at the motel heard screams or the door being kicked in

  • His will, which he discussed at length with his parents and siblings, was never found

  • His wife Barbara re-married his friend, Bobby Womack, within months of his shooting. The private investigation of the murder, started by Alan Klein, was ended at Barbara's request. Many find this decision offensive, because it was an opportunity to set the record straight. A private investigation was critical in reclaiming this man's honor.

  • Sam's death had transformed his image, changing him from pop star, former gospel singer, businessman, and civil rights supporter into an adulterer, rapist, drunk attacking an old woman. Every sleazy, so-called detail of his last night was vitally important, because proving the story false would reestablish Sam's memory. A statement issued at the time of his death reads:

    "Cooke's death as reported is impossible. Sam was known to have carried large sums of money at all times and it is evident that someone is trying to cover up the true reason for the tragedy.Sam was a happily married man with deep religious convictions, who was not a violent person, and the statements given as to why he was killed are entirely inconsistent with the type of person he was."

  • Although the story of his shooting made headlines, it was really far bigger than the news dispatches revealed; several pertinent and sensational angles were suppressed by someone. Sam Cooke's death will probably remain one of the many "mystery cases" of our time.

Review of the Pathology Report
by Rodney Muhammad

22 calibre roundsI would like to say that as a student of forensic pathology, for there to be powder burns on a body from a .22 caliber round indicates point-blank firing. No mention in the police files about whether or not Bertha's firing hand was tested for gunpowder. I believe that Sam was hit over the head at another location, transferred to the Hacienda, dragged from his car into Bertha's apartment (hence the ragged fingernails) dumped on the floor and shot point blank by a professional who knew just where to place the pistol.

Normally, a .22 does not have the power or the luck to do the kind of damage that this round did. However, placed between the 3rd and 4th ribs at the mid-axillary line ( under the armpit) at point-blank range, the small round avoided any collision with a rib bone or significant muscle tissue that would have kept it from penetrating the both lungs AND the heart. The shot may have also been timed to be fired when Sam was "breathing in" (on inhalation) to further decrease the resistance.

The reason I feel he was struck on the head someplace else has to do with the amount of swelling that was noted at autopsy. If the blow was delivered as Bertha said, AFTER she shot him, the swelling would be insignificant because of 2 things: volume depletion of blood and fluid due to the massive internal bleeding, (not enough fluid left to make a head blow swell) and the heart had stopped pumping altogether which would result in an aborted inflammatory response. He might also have been conscious when the fatal shot was fired. Also no mention of how much rigor mortis had set in based on the police tapes and apparent time of death. This would have been useful in determining if a horrific struggle had actually taken place. The struggle could have been between Sam and his real assassin as he struggled for his life.

No information on any injuries to Bertha during the alleged struggle, no bruises, cuts, scratches or tears, nothing while Sam ends up with a severe swelling and dead. She did not struggle with Sam. Was Bertha right or left handed, again no information (Could be valuable to determine which side of head she could hit with enough force).

Possible Mob Signatures to warn others? Body found with one shoe on and in a Black Jacket, car was left untouched and running (how could Elisa steal his clothes and wallet but leave his car keys?), bullet was expertly delivered through the heart and lungs (instantaneous death). Add to all this that his alleged signature at the hotel was never analyzed in court. As for Lisa Boyer, she was the perfect bait and lure to get Sam in the position that was necessary to kill his image. I think I could get a better feel for what actually happened if I could see the crime scene photos, but lo and behold, when I requested the photos from the L. A. Crime lab I was told they no longer exist. I wonder how A&E got their hands on them. By the way, the photos they showed were edited.


Listen to Sam Cookes songs

Related links
Sam Cooke Memorial web-site