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Police to release sketch of suspected Cosby killer

January 17, 1997
Web posted at: 5:50 p.m. EST

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Investigators are preparing a composite sketch of the gunman believed to have killed the son of actor Bill Cosby, but police are "not hot on anybody's trail," their commander said Friday.

A woman who found the body with a gunshot wound to the head provided a description of a white man as the one who attacked Ennis William Cosby, 27.

Police refused to release the woman's name, saying she was at risk. But the New York Daily News identified her Friday as a 47-year-old screenwriter. According to published reports, she told police Cosby was on his way to see her when he telephoned to say he would be delayed because of a flat tire.

The News, citing unnamed police sources, reported that she drove to Cosby's disabled car, spoke briefly to him and waited in her car to stay warm. She told police she became nervous and drove away when she saw a suspicious man walking toward Cosby's car.

A few minutes later, she returned to find Cosby's body. The New York newspaper also said a second witness was in the area at the time of the killing.

Robbery was apparent motive

Los Angeles Police Commander Tim McBride refused to confirm published accounts of the woman's story. "We don't sense anything out of the ordinary but we want to protect her identity," he said. "We have no reason to doubt the witness at all."

The woman's lawyer, Richard Debro, told CNN he is not commenting on the case at the request of police. "She is scared to death," he said.

Police said Cosby had pulled his Mercedes-Benz convertible off a California freeway to fix a flat tire when he was shot. At this point in the investigation, McBride said police believe Cosby was the victim of robbery.

"It's just the most obvious motive," McBride said. "As the investigation proceeds, it may very well turn out to be a different situation -- maybe just a random act of violence and not a robbery," he said. "But when you have somebody out in a rural area with an expensive car, why else would this crime occur?"

Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," Police Chief Willie Williams said the gunman was at the crime scene briefly.

"The perpetrator was only there for a few moments or a few seconds, but we don't know what was in his mind," Williams said.


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