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Sedrick COBB






A.K.A.: "Ricky"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 16, 1989
Date of arrest: 5 days after
Date of birth: February 3, 1962
Victim profile: Julia Ashe, 23
Method of murder: Drowning
Location: Waterbury County, Connecticut, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 13, 1991

Sedrick Cobb was sentenced to death in 1991. The former deliveryman from Naugatuck was convicted of rape and murder of 23-year-old Julia Ashe, whom he kidnapped from a Waterbury department store parking lot on December 16, 1989.

Cobb flattened one tire of her car using a valve stem remover and, when she returned, offered to help her change the tire. When he asked her for a ride to his car, she obliged. He then forced her at knifepoint to drive to a secluded road and raped her. He then bound and gagged her with fiberglass tape and carried her to a concrete dam. He pushed her and she fell 23 feet into the shallow, icy water below.

She managed to free her hands by rubbing the tape across wire mesh protruding from the concrete and gouged her face trying in vain to remove the tape across her mouth. When she tried to crawl up the bank to freedom Cobb forced her, face down, back into the water. Her ice-encrusted body was found Christmas Day.


2nd death row inmate opts for execution

AP / Connecticut Post

April 14, 2005

A second inmate on Connecticut's death row has announced his desire to forgo further appeals and face execution, possibly setting the stage for another flurry of court action like the one surrounding serial killer Michael Ross.

Sedrick Cobb, sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and killing a 23-year-old woman in 1989, said he wants to drop his appeals in a letter to Superior Court Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr., the Hartford Courant reported in today's editions. The court received the letter on April 4. Fuger presided over a lengthy hearing last year on Cobb's claim that he was not adequately represented by his lawyers during his trial. "I do this without stress, mental duress, it's just the right time," Cobb wrote to the judge. "I request a date in your court to make this official, so that you can ask of me any questions or concerns that you have."

Ross, on death row for killing four young women in eastern Connecticut in the early 1980s, faces lethal injection on May 11. He would be the first person executed in New England in 45 years if the death sentence is carried out as planned.

Ross' case is now tied up in a hearing in New London Superior Court to determine if he is competent in deciding to forgo his remaining appeals. Ross decided to drop his appeals last year and his execution was set for Jan. 26, but the competency issue has delayed the date several times. The hearing was to resume today.

In his letter to Fuger, Cobb also said that he is no longer represented by Stamford attorney David Golub, who handled his complex habeas corpus petition and argued unsuccessfully that Public Defender Gerard Smyth provided Cobb with substandard legal representation during his trial.

Golub said Wednesday that Cobb's case is very different from Ross' case.

"Sedrick Cobb is not Michael Ross," Golub said. "He has a very strong appeal and the appeal raises very important issues not only for Mr. Cobb, but for the administration of the death penalty in general."

Golub, who still is officially Cobb's lawyer, said he plans to meet with Cobb as soon as he can to discuss the matter.

It's not the first time Cobb has asked to volunteer for execution. In the summer of 2003, he startled the criminal justice system by writing a note to Fuger saying he wanted to withdraw his habeas petition and have an execution date set.

At a hearing July 9 of that year, Fuger urged him to reconsider, saying the result would be "catastrophic." Cobb later reneged.

Cobb was convicted of kidnapping Julia Ashe in 1989 while she was Christmas shopping at a Waterbury department store. He flattened her tire, then offered his help to change it when she returned from the store. After changing the tire, he asked her for a ride to his own car. Once in her vehicle, he overpowered her and forced her to drive to a remote location, taped her mouth, wrists and ankles and raped her. He then threw her into an icy culvert, and watched as she struggled to survive. Her body was discovered two weeks later, on Christmas Day.

Fuger no longer has jurisdiction over Cobb's case. His November ruling against Cobb's habeas petition is on appeal to the state Supreme Court.


Connecticut inmate seeks to drop appeals

Death Row Inmate: 'Let's Go' --- Convicted Killer Asks Judge To Remove Obstacles To State's 1st Execution Since 1960

July 20, 2003

Convicted killer Sedrick Cobb may have put the state on a fast track to its 1st execution in more than four decades Wednesday, when he asked to forgo all further appeals and be put to death.

"I no longer wish to appeal this sentence of death on this level, the federal level or any other level," Cobb told Rockville Superior Court Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr. "And let me assure you, Judge, it's not a delaying tactic or any kind of a game."

"I made my peace with God. Let's go," Cobb stated, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Cobb's abrupt yet emphatic turnaround could lead to his death by lethal injection within several months. And it is certain to launch a unique legal debate in this state - whether the court can, or should, allow a challenge to a death sentence to proceed over the objections of the condemned man.

In his request, Cobb clearly is at odds with his widely respected lawyer, David Golub.

Fuger postponed acting on Cobb's request until July 23 to hear further arguments from Golub on why an earlier petition, filed by Cobb and seeking to block the sentence, should proceed. Golub found himself in the awkward position Wednesday of trying to defend Cobb's rights while contradicting his client's wishes.

Golub claims Cobb did not receive adequate legal assistance at his trial, and that the administration of the death penalty in Connecticut is racially biased. Cobb is black. His victim, 23-year-old Julia Ashe, was white.

Cobb, now 41, told Fuger that he would not change his position. He also made several references to his strained relationship with Golub and co-counsel Jonathan Levine.

"There's a continuing hatred that's being portrayed - 'obb is raising the race issue,"' Cobb told the court. "Cobb never raised nothing. That was attorneys doing that to incense the public, you know. 'Kill him, kill him, kill him' and all this stuff. I'm tired of it, Your Honor. I'm tired of it. Let it be enough. I'm ready."

Cobb was sentenced to death in 1991 for the December 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of Ashe. She had been Christmas shopping at a Waterbury department store when Cobb flattened a tire on her car, then offered to help change it when she emerged from the store into the frigid night. When he asked for a ride to his own car, which he said was parked at a nearby gas station, she agreed.

Once inside the car, Cobb, who later confessed, grabbed her by the throat and forced her to drive to a nearby wooded area. He bound her hands and ankles, and covered her mouth with packing tape, raped her, then carried her to a dam and dropped her 24 feet into the icy water below.

But Ashe struggled to survive. She kicked off one sneaker and freed her ankles. She cut the tape around her wrists on a jagged piece of metal in the junk-strewn culvert. She struggled to climb up the embankment. Whether Cobb pushed her back in or she fell backward is unknown. Her body was found 9 days later.

The state Supreme Court upheld Cobb's death sentence in 1999, completing the only review of his case that is mandated by state law. Death row inmates cannot opt out of this appeal. All other appeals are optional. The U.S. Supreme Court in October 2000 declined to hear Cobb's appeal. His habeas petition, in which he made claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty, was filed in late 2000, but was delayed as defense lawyers awaited completion of several comprehensive statistical analyses of race and other demographics in capital punishment.

Cobb was brought to court Wednesday after refusing to sign a document waiving the confidentiality of his communications with his trial lawyers - now Chief Public Defender Gerard Smyth and Public Defender Alan McWhirter - which stymied his current lawyers' efforts to question them about their trial work.

Cobb gave Fuger a lengthy written statement, which was not made part of the public file. Cobb called it "a detailed account of my thoughts, because I might miss something." He maintained in his statements to Fuger that he believes the police violated his rights. Although he did not elaborate, he previously has challenged the searches of his car and apartment, and circumstances surrounding his confession.

"They violated my rights, I can't win, and I'm ready to go," Cobb told the judge.

Cobb bristled at Golub's statements that the habeas petition contained substantial claims, and that he had expert witnesses prepared to testify about shortcomings in Cobb's legal representation at trial.

"Please. I don't have anything personal against these 2 men sitting here with me, but they're not - they're down-talking to me, or downplaying the situation here," Cobb said. "Do I have to say I don't want them - I fire you - they don't speak for me?"

Fuger told Cobb he could take those "drastic" steps but urged him not to.

"I want you to understand this and believe it's the truth," Fuger told him. "The only thing that is standing between you and the death chamber right now is this habeas corpus petition."

Fuger also told Cobb that after the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in 1976 that permitted states to resume using the death penalty, Gary Gilmore was the 1st to be executed. He was put to death in Utah in 1977.

Since Gilmore, Fuger told Cobb, "close to 900 individuals have been executed in this country.

"Now I don't know whether that effect would be the same here in Connecticut," Fuger said. "But right now there are seven men sitting on death row and you have the unfortunate position of being the leading person. If you withdraw your petition, you not only hasten your own death, you may well hasten the deaths of other people. And I don't say that to talk you out of this. I say that because I want you to understand the import, the weight, of what you're doing."

To which Cobb replied, "Well, Your Honor, I hear you. I hear you clear. And I have thought about those things and heard those things on the row over the years, and read those things in journals and on the news and the media from around the state, even around the world in some cases. So I'm fully aware of that."

Cobb then said it was the attorneys, not he, preparing the appeals.

"Let the officers of the court and false witnesses, as such, come develop a conscience before the court, whatever procedure that is, and admit their wrongdoing and how they have made this carry on and carry on over the years, and me sitting in that pit up there, being told this and that and lies by various attorneys. ... All I'm saying, Your Honor, is I've had enough. No more lies, no more games. I've had enough."

Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly, who prosecuted Cobb 12 years ago, would not comment after Wednesday's hearing. In court, when asked by Fuger for his reaction to Cobb's request, Connelly said, "I guess Mr. Cobb and I have been in this case from the beginning, and the only ones who have been in it from the beginning, and I've always found Mr. Cobb, in the courtroom anyway, to be highly intelligent and aware of the proceedings that have been going on these many years. Your Honor, I think he understands what's at stake here, clearly better than any of us. I mean, it's his case, it's not Mr. Golub's case."

Members of Ashe's family did not return a phone call seeking comment; Cobb's parents declined to comment. Golub in court emphasized that Cobb's family was not there, and suggested that Fuger should allow some time for Cobb to seek family support. Cobb cut him off.

"Your Honor, I don't want a tit for a tat here, but I had a two-hour visit with my family yesterday, and they're aware. I mean, am I not speaking English here?"

Golub persisted, arguing that to permit Cobb to withdraw his habeas petition would lead to irrevocable consequences.

"As you well know," Fuger told Golub, "the right of the inmate will trump the arguments of the lawyer."

If Fuger grants Cobb's request to withdraw his petition, the next step would be for Cobb to return to Waterbury Superior Court, where an execution date would be set for sometime between 1 and 6 months from the date of that hearing. Cobb's only recourse then would be to ask the state Board of Pardons to commute his sentence to life in prison without parole.

Golub later Wednesday said he understands Cobb's exasperation.

"No one can understand how hard it is to live in the situation he's under," Golub said. "But he didn't get a fair trial. We have two experts who have done substantial criminal work, including death penalty work in Connecticut, who are prepared to come to court and testify he did not receive effective assistance of counsel. This is a man who deserves a hearing."

The last person executed in Connecticut was Joseph "Mad Dog" Taborsky in May 1960.


Sedrick "Ricky" Cobb



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