A suspected serial killer is accused of murdering nine people in just three weeks, including his own mother and stepfather. Cleophus Cooksey Jr., of Phoenix, Arizona, was originally arrested for shooting his parents, 56-year-old Rene Cooksey and 54-year-old Edward Nunn, in their home on December 17.
"Our detectives didn't stop there, they kept digging," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said during a Thursday press conference, according to the New York Daily News.
Now, police have tied him to an additional seven murders, all of which are believed to have taken place between November 27 and December 17 in the Phoenix area. All were shot, reported NBC News.
Police were able to link Cooksey, 35, to the victims through the gun he used. Because the killings did not follow any discernible modus operandi, police did not realize that they had a serial killer on their hands until they arrested Cooksey for the murder of his mother and stepfather.
Though authorities were unaware that a suspected serial killer was on the loose, Phoenix Police Sergeant Jonathan Howard praised the police work done in this case.
"To solve nine homicides in a period is outstanding,” he said.
According to The Washington Post, Cooksey allegedly knew one of his victims: the brother of his ex-girlfriend. All other victims seem to be strangers killed at random, according to the Arizona Republic. Other victims include Maria Villanueva, 43, who was sexually assaulted before she was killed in December. Twenty-seven-year-old Andrew Remillard and 21-year-old Parker Smith are believed to be the first people to be murdered during this killing spree.
It is unclear if Cooksey has an attorney who can speak on his behalf at this time.
The suspect is also reportedly no stranger to police. He was convicted of armed robbery and manslaughter at age 18, according to the Arizona Republic, during a robbery gone bad at a Phoenix topless bar.
Starting in 2015, Cooksey posted nine videos of himself sitting on a couch rapping about various topics, including murder. In one clip he raps, "I chopped at the rest of 'em/ Murdered all the best of 'em/ Nothing left of 'em."
[Photo: Arizona Department of Corrections, Phoenix Police Department]