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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bevo Mill Double Murder Was 'Ambush,' Prosecutor Says

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 6:04 PM

Haris Hajdarevic, left, and James Cobb Jr. were close friends who were shot to death in 2015. - FACEBOOK
  • Haris Hajdarevic, left, and James Cobb Jr. were close friends who were shot to death in 2015.

James Cobb Jr. and his best friend, Haris Hajdarevic, were caught in a deadly "ambush" in 2015, a prosecutor says.

"They never had a chance," Assistant Attorney General Christine Krug told jurors Tuesday during the opening of the double-murder trial.

The two friends, both in their twenties, were seated in Hajdarevic's car outside Cobb's boyhood home on the night of October 28, 2015, when they were gunned down by the new boyfriend of the mother of Cobb's young son, authorities say.

Krug said Rey Hernandez, now 21, fired ten rounds into the car, killing both men. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts armed criminal action.

The killings were the subject of a Riverfront Times cover story in 2016.

On the first full day of trial, jurors heard from the parents of Cobb and Hajdarevic, as well as a string of witnesses who described alleged links between Hernandez and the shooting.

A neighbor near the Bevo Mill shooting scene said she called 911 after hearing multiple gunshots and looked out her window to see a man in a black hoodie and camouflage pants slip between houses and run off. A police crime scene officer then walked the jury through photos of a black hoodie, camo pants, gloves and a black stocking cap found in a gangway next to the Gravois Avenue apartment where Hernandez was staying.

A detective said Hernandez later led them back to the area of the shooting and showed them where to find a silver-and-black handgun. Analysts from the police crime lab testified about matching bullets to that same 9mm Taurus handgun and linking Hernandez's DNA to the discarded clothes.

In her opening statement, defense attorney Marissa Ulman told jurors that the only witness who really knows what happened the night of the shooting is Hernandez. She claims Cobb threatened her client before the shooting.

Hernandez is expected to testify on Wednesday.

Cobb's mother, Peggy Cobb, first pointed investigators to Hernandez. She suspected the shooting was retaliation for a bitter custody battle between her son and Hernandez's girlfriend.

On Tuesday, she testified that she was at work at Mercy Hospital on the last night of her son's life but had talked to him on the phone.

"I said, 'I'll talk to you tomorrow, I love you and goodbye,'" she said, sobbing frequently throughout her time on the stand.

Peggy Cobb learned about the shooting from her husband, James "Jamie" Cobb Sr. He told jurors that his son stopped by their house that night to eat a late dinner and then left to catch up with Hajdarevic. The father was watching TV moments later when he heard multiple shots, clustered in two bursts, he said.

He ran barefoot out the door to see that Hajdarevic's car had veered into a parked truck up the street. When he reached the scene, his son was slumped under his friend.

"I kept shaking his head," Jamie Cobb said. "I was saying, 'James! James!'"

His son was already dead. Hajdarevic was mumbling unintelligibly and died shortly after. When Peggy Cobb returned home and spoke to police, she told them about the custody battle, showed them a Facebook photo of Hernandez and told them where he was staying in the Gravois apartment. He was taken into custody shortly after and has been locked up in the city jail ever since.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to continue after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in front of Judge Elizabeth Byrne Hogan.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.

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