Atascadero man gets 26 years for homophobic murder
April 11, 2012
An Atascadero man who murdered his 66-year-old wife for allegedly accepting a gay relative was sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison on Tuesday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. [Tribune]
Police arrested Kenneth Leroy Cockrell, 60, on Easter Sunday 2008 on suspicion of beating to death his third wife, “Peggy” Cockrell, at their home in the 9000 block of La Linia Avenue. Cockrell had gone to the police station, said he killed her, and drew the police a map of his home.
Cockrell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Officers testified that Cockrell said he was trying to prevent “the spirit of sodomy” from coming into his family and that voices told him to sacrifice his wife of 20 years.
According to testimony, Cockrell told District Attorney’s Office investigator Mark Vallely that he committed the murder to “cure” the gay relative.
“So by sacrificing your wife, her blood is going to cure him?” Vallely asked, according to a report.
“That’s the hope,” Cockrell replied.