Cleveland Yarrow Cook made it easy for police and prosecutors by turning himself in and pleading guilty to a March 21, 2005, murder in Mesa. But that still didn’t make it easy for anyone in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa, where a judge sentenced the Mesa man Friday to life in prison with the chance of parole after 25 years.
Cook’s family and the sisters of his victim, Brian Duxbury of Mesa, spoke tearfully about two men from middle-class families whose promise and good natures were lost to methamphetamine.
“When drug dealers and drug addicts kill each other the general public is short on sympathy,” said Robin Duxbury.
Duxbury said her 47-year- old brother was a musician and entrepreneur with an excellent sense of humor, but he would also isolate himself from his family for long periods of time, probably out of shame when his life wasn’t going well.
Cook’s family and friends said he was a polite Boy Scout who volunteered caring for the elderly.
“Each were caring, loving people, each had senses of humor,” said defense attorney Bob Stein. “They both were legitimate people until they got involved in drugs.”
Cook pleaded guilty to firstdegree murder, and under the deal the state agreed not to seek the death penalty. This left Judge David Talamante with the choice of locking him up with no chance of parole or a chance at parole after 25 years.
Prosecutor Paul Ahler argued for the harsher sentence, pointing out the brutality and senselessness of the crime.
Cook stabbed Duxbury eight times in the neck and then wrapped his body in a tarp and tied it to a dolly.
His body was folded with his head stuffed between his legs when a doctor unwrapped the tarp for an autopsy, records show.
Ahler said blood was on every wall and floor of Cook’s townhome at 944 S. Valencia, indicating a struggle.
Cook told witnesses he killed Duxbury because he believed he was informing on him to police, but Ahler said there was no evidence it was true.