State Trooper Charged In Death Of Female Trooper Over Insurance PolicyCURT ANDERSON , Associated Press
Oct. 20, 1987 3:08 PM ET
MONTGOMERY, ALA. MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ The relationship between two Alabama state troopers who once considered marriage ended with one shot to death and the other jailed on charges of murdering her for life insurance money, officials said Tuesday.
Trooper Joseph Cecil Duncan, 32, was arrested late Monday on two counts of capital murder in the Oct. 11 slaying of Trooper Elizabeth Cobb, 31. He was being held without bond.
Ms. Cobb was shot several times in the head and left dead in her patrol car near a rural Dallas County church. Duncan was off duty at the time.
Tom Wells, director of the state Department of Public Safety, said Duncan and Ms. Cobb both worked out of the Selma office and had at one time considered getting married, although no date was ever set.
Ms. Cobb recently purchased a life insurance policy that named Duncan as the beneficiary, and Duncan allegedly killed her in an attempt to collect the money, Wells said.
Neither Wells nor Dallas County Sheriff Cotton Nichols would release the amount of the policy or discuss whether the two had quarreled before the killing. Wells declined to release specifics on how the slaying happened.
''All that stuff will come out in due time,'' Nichols said.
The FBI said Ms. Cobb, one of 13 female troopers in Alabama, was the first female state trooper killed in the line of duty in the United States.
Duncan, who was suspended from the force, was arrested in Selma but officials would not give any details.
According to an affidavit attached to the arrest warrant, Duncan told investigators he had been at the site where Ms. Cobb's body was found and described ''circumstances surrounding her death which would be unknown to anyone other than the perpetrator.''
The affidavit also said Duncan's fingerprints were found on Ms. Cobb's patrol car.
Ms. Cobb left the Selma trooper post on the evening of Oct. 11, and her body was found the next day. She had made no radio contact with the post after leaving.
Previously, Wells said it was clear that Ms. Cobb went to the site ''under someone's control or saw something.'' She was not sexually molested.
Wells said Ms. Cobb's .357-caliber Magnum service revolver and the keys to her patrol car were still missing. The murder weapon has not been recovered.
The two formal charges against Duncan are murder of a law officer and murder for consideration or hire, which Wells said refers to the insurance policy.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has previously been rocked by slayings involving troopers or officers.
In January 1985, Trooper Walter Houston Burgess Jr., 34, was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend, nurse Diana Lopez Lewis, 34. Witnesses testified Burgess walked into a hospital in Enterprise and shot Ms. Lewis while she was at work.
In September, agent Grady Gibson, 37, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the slaying of an informant's wife, also for insurance money. The informant, Eddie Hart, 34, was convicted of manslaughter.