Freedom brief for man involved in 1987 coast killings

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Freedom was short-lived for a Biloxi man involved in the notorious Sherry murder conspiracy.

Glen Joseph Cook Sr., who admitted that he helped arrange the 1987 murders of Vincent and Margaret Sherry, was released last week after 16 years, three months in federal prison. Two days later, on June 20, Jackson County sheriff’s deputies arrested him for domestic violence.

They turned him over to federal authorities because he had been ordered, as a condition of his release, to stay out of Mississippi.

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Authorities feared he might make good on threats to harm his family or those involved in bringing him to justice, according to several sources familiar with the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mike Parker on Tuesday found probable cause to detain the 66-year-old Cook on charges that he violated the terms of his supervised release. Parker ordered a July 10 hearing to be held in federal court in Gulfport.

Cook had a short-lived career as a Biloxi police officer in the 1960s before he veered onto Biloxi’s seedy tourist strip, where hustlers, gamblers, thieves and prostitutes found refuge in striptease clubs protected by the law. Cook managed two of those clubs run by Mike Gillich Jr.

Between crimes, Kirksey McCord Nix Jr. dropped in to socialize and gamble.

Fast forward to the late 1980s at Angola prison in Louisiana, where Nix was serving life without parole for murder. Behind bars, he raked in tens of thousands of dollars running scams on innocent pen pals. Nix’s attorney, Pete Halat, banked the convict’s money. When some of that money disappeared, Halat blamed his former law partner, Vincent Sherry.

Nix called Gillich. Gillich talked to Cook, who agreed to kill Sherry, test-fired the gun, then backed out. A Texan took the job for $20,000. When it was done, Cook delivered the hitman’s final payment.

All those admissions came out during nine years of court proceedings that also landed Halat in prison, but only after he had served a term as Biloxi’s mayor.

Cook’s lawyer claimed he was mentally incompetent, perhaps schizophrenic. After a mental exam, Cook was deemed too ill to stand trial with coconspirators. In 1998, he accepted a plea deal. He admitted that he had intimidated a witness in the Sherry case. His time ran concurrently with his conviction in a related 1992 drug case.

After his release, Cook made his way to his son’s house in St. Martin. The elder Cook ordered his son to get off the property. The son feared his father had a gun and called sheriff’s deputies, their reports show.

Cook told the deputies he lived in Biloxi, a home he had to forfeit to federal authorities years ago because it was bought with drug money.