R&B singer Sam Cooke was shot and killed today (December 11, 1964) in a Los Angeles Motel.
Cooke was in the company of a woman named Lisa Boyer at the Hacienda Motel in South Los Angeles.
Something transpired in the hotel room between Boyer and Cooke, which enraged the R&B singer.
Boyer testified Cooke was attempting to rape her, so when he went into the bathroom, she grabbed her clothes “and evidently I picked up Mr. Cooke’s clothes when I picked up mine.”
When he arrived, the singer was fully dressed with his shirt and tie hanging loose, but when Cooke left the hotel room in search of Boyer, he wearing nothing but his coat, according Mrs. Bertha Lee Franklin, the hotel manager.
Cooke believed that Mrs. Franklin, 55, may have been harboring Boyle and wanted to search her room to recover his clothes and wallet.
“I told him to get the police if he wanted to search my place. He said ‘damn the police and started working on the door with his shoulder….it wasn’t long before he was in,” Mrs. Franklin testified at her trial.
Franklin shot and killed Cooke with a .22 caliber pistol that she kept handy in case of hold ups. He was struck three times.
The pistol fell to the floor and a terrified Franklin, who testified she didn’t know that Cooke was a famous soul singer, then struck Cooke over the head with a stick.
“The first time I hit him, it broke,” Mrs. Franklin testified. Cooke died on the floor, with one shoe on and one off.
Outside, his $14,000 Ferrari remained running.
No one was ever charged in Sam Cooke’s death.