YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s been said that homicide detectives speak for the dead, but they also speak for their families.
Just ask Youngstown police Detective Sgt. Michael Cox, who says that solving homicides is more than a job to him.
Cox said the victims’ families, especially their mothers, are spurring him to solve a triple homicide from almost a year ago. He said he hopes he can bring them some closure.
One of those mothers calls him at least once a week and they chat anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. He said it is always good to hear from people who are concerned about the fate of their loved ones when he is working a case. In some cases, no one calls to ask about the status of a case.
“I just want to provide them with some closure,” Cox said. “That’s my goal.”
Cox is the lead investigator in the killings of Korey Jennings, 38; Jamal Burley, 38; and Adrien Brown, 42.
The three, who were said to be close friends, were found late Dec. 12 gunned down in a 571 W. Delason Ave. home that was burned to the ground this summer.
Of the three, two were in the living room, one near the front door, and the third victim was in the kitchen. Cox said it appears at least two people did the actual shooting, one of the reasons being there were casings from two different weapons recovered in the home.
Cox said investigators believe the three knew whoever killed them. They were watching Thursday Night Football, and investigators know they had a meeting with someone set up. Witnesses told him the three would never allow anyone in the home that they did not know.
“Somehow, within a couple of minutes, things went bad,” Cox said. “I strongly believe they knew the people.”
“They just didn’t let anyone inside the house. To let anyone inside the house, they had to know them and trust them to a point.”
There is also evidence that some items in the house were taken, Cox said, after talking to people who knew the three and knew some of the property that they kept in the house.
Within two days, Cox and other investigators were deluged with calls from friends and family of the victims, telling them what areas they should look into and what people they should be looking at.
Cox said the amount of calls he received is not typical, but he said because there were multiple victims plus the fact that all three were well-liked, that led to a lot of people reaching out. The fact the three were also older than typical homicide victims also accounted for more people knowing them, Cox said.
“They knew a lot of people, and a lot of people knew them,” Cox said. “They had been around a while.”
Cox spent a lot of time checking out the names given to him and narrowed his case down to two suspects. He was able to determine one of those suspects was not in the house that the time the murders occurred, but that does not mean that person wasn’t involved in some other way.
The other person was killed in a homicide earlier this year that Cox said could be related to the triple homicide.
Although the tips were helpful, there was not a lot of evidence that tipsters gave investigators, which is why he has not been able to make an arrest yet, Cox said.
Cox said he knows someone has information he needs, and he thinks that person (or persons) is close to the families of the victims.
“I’m kind of asking and pleading with these people, by holding back and not helping us they’re not providing closure for those [victim’s] mothers,” Cox said.
Anyone with information can call Cox at 330-742-8262.
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