Ex-del. Man Confesses To 3 Murders

Posted: May 27, 1990

NEW CASTLE, Del. — One of the nation's most-wanted criminals was extradited to Delaware yesterday after his surprise courtroom confession to three murders, including the 1988 beating and stabbing deaths of his parents.

Charles Cohen, 25, a former University of Delaware art student and punk rock drummer, made the confession in a Louisiana courtroom while facing other felony charges under the alias of James McDowell.

He was flown on a commercial airliner from New Orleans to Philadelphia and then driven to New Castle County police headquarters, where he began providing police with details of a third slaying, authorities said.

Following questioning, he was arraigned on two first-degree murder counts last night before Delaware Magistrate Paul Smith, who ordered Cohen held without bail at Gander Hill Prison. A preliminary hearing was set for June 5.

Attorney General Charles Oberly said during a news conference that Cohen had given police the identity of the third victim. Oberly would not release the person's name, but said the homicide did not occur in either Delaware or a neighboring state.

"There was apparently a third homicide. We have the information. It's being checked out in the next 12 to 24 hours," Oberly said.

Cohen's admission to three slayings came after he ignored advice from his court-appointed attorney and state Judge Ernest Richards against making any statement to the court.

"I'm guilty of the charges here today, and not the least of which, three murders," Cohen told Richards, who was preparing to arraign him on felony charges of trying to rob an elderly Metairie, La., woman and failing to pay a cab fare.

"My real name is Charles Cohen. I'm one of America's most-wanted criminals. I make this confession in Jesus' name."

Cohen twice has been featured on the television program America's Most Wanted and has eluded the FBI and Delaware police since 1988, when his parents were found slain in their suburban Wilmington home.

The bodies of Cohen's parents, Dr. Martin Cohen, 58, and Ethel Cohen, 64, were found in their Hockessin, Del., townhouse Nov. 14, 1988.

Martin Cohen was director of the Delaware State Mental Hospital. His wife was an occupational therapist and a former actress. Both were beaten on the head and stabbed in the neck with a folding knife.

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