February 27, 2021
I did not realize that Sam Cooke was killed at such a young age. He had such an incredible influence on so many artists. Aretha said that when she was young, Cooke came to her house as her father was a famous preacher and Cooke sang gospel music. She said when he crossed over to do pop, he opened the door for her to do the same. Thank you, Sam!
Tragic story of his death. Like those of MLK, Malcolm X, Marvin Gaye and so many others. The world would be a better place if they had lived longer.
I took the following from Wikipedia:
Answering separate reports of a shooting and a kidnapping at the motel, police found Cooke's corpse. He had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, which was later determined to have pierced his heart. The motel's manager, Bertha Franklin, claimed to have shot him in self-defense. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke's acquaintances.
The official police record states that Franklin fatally shot Cooke, who had checked in earlier that evening. Franklin said that Cooke had banged on the door of her office, shouting "Where's the girl?!". Franklin shouted back that there was no one in her office except herself, but an enraged Cooke did not believe her and forced his way into the office, naked except for one shoe and a sport jacket. He grabbed her, demanding again to know the woman's whereabouts. According to Franklin, she grappled with Cooke, the two of them fell to the floor, and she then got up and ran to retrieve a gun. She said she then fired at Cooke in self-defense because she feared for her life. Cooke was struck once in the torso. According to Franklin, he exclaimed, "Lady, you shot me", in a tone that expressed perplexity rather than anger, before advancing on her again. She said she hit him in the head with a broomstick before he finally fell to the floor and died.
The motel's owner, Evelyn Carr, said that she had been on the telephone with Franklin at the time of the incident. Carr said she overheard Cooke's intrusion and the ensuing conflict and gunshot. She called the police to request that officers go to the motel, telling them she believed a shooting had occurred.
A coroner's inquest was convened to investigate the incident. The woman who had accompanied Cooke to the motel was identified as Elisa Boyer, who had also called the police that night several minutes before Carr had. Boyer had called from a telephone booth near the motel.
Boyer told the police that she had first met Cooke earlier that night and had spent the evening in his company. She said that after they left a local nightclub together, she had repeatedly requested that he take her home, but he instead took her against her will to the Hacienda Motel. She said that once in one of the motel's rooms, Cooke physically forced her onto the bed, and then stripped her to her panties; she said she was sure he was going to rape her. Cooke allowed her to use the bathroom, from which she attempted an escape but found that the window was firmly shut. According to Boyer, she returned to the main room, where Cooke continued to molest her. When he went to use the bathroom, she quickly grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. She said that in her haste, she had also scooped up most of Cooke's clothing by mistake. She said she ran first to the manager's office and knocked on the door seeking help. However, she said that the manager took too long to respond, so, fearing Cooke would soon be coming after her, she fled from the motel before the manager ever opened the door. She said she then put her clothes back on, hid Cooke's clothing, went to a telephone booth, and called the police.
Boyer's story is the only account of what happened between her and Cooke that night; however, her story has long been called into question. Inconsistencies between her version of events and details reported by diners at Martoni's Restaurant, where Cooke dined and drank earlier in the evening, suggest that Boyer may have gone willingly to the motel with Cooke, then slipped out of the room with his clothing to rob him, rather than to escape an attempted rape.
Cooke was reportedly carrying a large amount of money at Martoni's, according to restaurant employees and friends. However, a search of Boyer's purse by police revealed nothing except a $20 bill, and a search of Cooke's Ferrari found only a money clip with $108 and a few loose coins.
However, questions about Boyer's role were beyond the scope of the inquest, the purpose of which was only to establish the circumstances of Franklin's role in the shooting. Boyer's leaving the motel room with almost all of Cooke's clothing, and the fact that tests showed Cooke was inebriated at the time, provided a plausible explanation to the inquest jurors for Cooke's bizarre behavior and state of undress. In addition, because Carr's testimony corroborated Franklin's version of events, and because both Boyer and Franklin later passed polygraph tests, the coroner's juryultimately accepted Franklin's explanation and returned a verdict of justifiable homicide.With that verdict, authorities officially closed the case on Cooke's death.
Some of Cooke's family and supporters, however, have rejected Boyer's version of events, as well as those given by Franklin and Carr. They believe that there was a conspiracyto murder Cooke and that the murder took place in some manner entirely different from the three official accounts. Singer Etta James viewed Cooke's body before his funeral and questioned the accuracy of the official version of events. She wrote that the injuries she observed were well beyond the official account of Cooke having fought Franklin alone. James wrote that Cooke was so badly beaten that his head was nearly separated from his shoulders, his hands were broken and crushed, and his nose mangled.
Some people have speculated that Cooke's manager, Allen Klein, might have had a role in his death. Klein owned Tracey, Ltd, which ultimately owned all rights to Cooke's recordings.
No concrete evidence supporting a criminal conspiracy has been presented to date.