White supremacist pleads guilty to involvement in Cleveland murder
“In the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 2008, Cooke, using the ruse that his own vehicle was overcrowded, persuaded Freeman to pull over as both men were traveling in separate vehicles from Cooke’s residence in Rye, Texas, to Cleveland, Texas,” said US Attorney John Malcom Bales in his statement to the media.
When Freeman came around the truck to greet Cooke and David Jason Michels, a co-defendant in the case who has yet to be tried, Cooke shot Freeman six times with a .45 caliber pistol, once in the left arm, three times in his left side, once in his right buttock and once in the face.
Freeman’s body placed behind his abandoned vehicle. A passerby noticed the body and reported it to Cleveland Police Department.
On Freeman’s body, police found his wallet with cash inside, an ID card and a birth certificate that showed he was born in Petoski, Mich. He also was in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and two cell phones.
Early in the murder investigation, Freeman’s tattoos led police to suspect immediately that he had been involved in the Aryan Brotherhood. On his back was a tattoo that read, “Aryan Pride.” On his right arm was a tattoo of a lightning bolt, and on his left arm was a tattoo that read, “Intimidator 3,” which is believed to be a reference to the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Freeman’s chest also bore a tattoo of a man holding two flags — a Rebel Flag and a Nazi Flag.
In his announcement of the plea agreement, Bales offered words of appreciation for the investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Police Department. The prosecutor in the case is the US Attorney in Lufkin, Texas.
Of the Aryan Brotherhood in Texas, Bales said, “In both word and deed, the ABT has consistently demonstrated a flagrant disrespect for the law and a pitiless disregard for the standards and norms of conduct that bind our society together. Scott Freeman’s murder was a completely senseless act of violence that accomplished nothing but to further cement the ABT’s reputation as a loathsome gang dedicated to enforcing a foolish and evil code of conduct.
“We have now convicted two of the five ABT generals from the Poncho faction. A third general has died from natural causes. This most recent accomplishment signals not only the end of Steven Cooke’s criminal career but underscores our present intention to completely dismantle the ABT’s ability to do harm.”