The Mysterious Story Of The Death Of Sam Cooke

The Mysterious Story Of The Death Of Sam Cooke | Society Of Rock Videos

via Sam Cooke - Topic/YouTube

Suspicious Circumstances

Sam Cooke was an influential musician known for his distinctive vocals. Dubbed as the King of Soul, he had a string of hits in the early 1960s. But come December 11, 1964, he was shot and killed at the age of 33 by Bertha Franklin, the manager of Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. Test results showed that he was inebriated at the time of the incident. Although the courts ruled it as a justifiable homicide and Franklin was never charged, his family has questioned the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

According to Franklin, Cooke broke into her office and then violently attacked her, asking for a woman he met early in the evening named Elisa Boyer. She claimed he was naked except for one shoe and a sports jacket. They grappled and both fell on the floor. She scrambled to get her gun and she was then left with no choice but to shoot him in the chest, claiming self-defense for her actions. He told her, “Lady, you shot me”. And in a last-ditch effort, he charged at her and she hit him on the head with a broomstick.

Owner Everlyn Carr supported Franklin’s story because apparently, she was on the phone with her when the attack happened. It was also Carr who phoned the police after hearing the gunshots. Both Carr and Franklin passed their polygraph tests.

Cooke met Boyer at Martoni’s Restaurant and the musician allegedly forced her to go with him to the motel. After which, he tried to rape her and when he went to use the bathroom, she fled and in her haste, ended up bringing Cooke’s clothes with her. She knocked on Franklin’s door but afraid that he will catch up with her, she rushed out and called the police from the nearest telephone booth.

But witnesses at the aforementioned diner claimed that Boyer wasn’t forced and went with Cooke willingly.

However, there were claims that his death had something to do with his support in the Civil Rights movement. His friends and family never bought the story that it was all an accident. On the contrary, they believed there was a conspiracy to murder him. Although there’s no evidence to prove it, one of those who claimed it suspicious was his friend and fellow musician Etta James. She observed that he was badly beaten, raising questions that he might not have fought with Franklin alone.

After Cooke’s death, Franklin and Carr received death threats. Boyer was arrested in 1979 after her boyfriend ended up dead following a fight. She was convicted to 25 years to life imprisonment which further ignited the Sam Cooke conspiracy theories.

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