Family Asks for Help in Brutal Morning Murder

Baton Rouge Police are still keeping an active file on a long-time neighborhood resident murdered in his own front yard. That was three years ago, but this wasn't like many urban crimes: it happened in the morning, not at night; and the weapon wasn't gun or knife, it was a chunk of concrete. WAFB's Matt Williams reports on this resident of 20 years on Monarch Avenue.

51-year-old Earnest Cooks comes from a big family; he's the oldest of five brothers and three sisters. Back on November 8, 2003 that big family got a little smaller: someone killed the man everyone called Bubba. Earnest was found dead in his front yard at 5535 Monarch Avenue. His brother, Michael, almost stopped by his house the morning it happened.

"I had to work," Michael remembers. "I left here for New Orleans. On my way out, I had this feeling I should have passed by."

But he didn't, and by the time he got to work, his wife called him with the news that his brother had been killed.

Bubba lived on Monarch Avenue for more than 20 years. His house has since been torn down, wiped away, much like Mike's brother. It's Mike's hope now that his brother's brutal murder and his memory have not been forgotten here in this community.

"Why would someone kill Bubba?" asks Michael. "That's the guy that everyone likes. He's that neighborhood guy."

In fact, police say someone was talking to Bubba seconds before they killed him. They believe Bubba knew his killer, they believe his killer knew he had just received his social security check. They think the killer was looking for some money, and things just escalated.

"When it got out of hand, whoever picked up that weapon of opportunity, a chunk of concrete," says Baton Rouge Police Detective John Norwood. "I believe one of those chunks of concrete was used to kill him."

If you think you can help, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP.

Reporter: Matt Williams