A Information was filed on February 39 1955, in the
Superior Court of Maricopa County Arizona, charging the defendant
LEONARD COEY with the crime of MURDER (FIRST DEGREE) , a felony.
On February 3, 1955, the defendant was arraigned and entered a plea
of not guilty to the crime of Murder (First Degree), a felony and trial
of said cause was set for March16, 1955.
On March 16, 1955 to March 24, 1955, trial was had and on March 24,
1955, the defendant Leonard Coey was found guilty by a jury of the crime
of Murder (First Degree), a felony, with the punishment at death.
The facts and circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime
are as follows:
On or about January 27, 1955, the defendant Leonard Coey deposited
the body of his dead wife, Elnora Coey, at about 2:30 P.M. of that day,
at the back of the Sheriff’s office, Maricopa County Courthouse,
Phoenix, Arizona. Defendant deposited her body at the place mentioned by
dragging her out of the car and as she fell from the car to the
pavement, he muttered some filthy words respecting her. During the
trial, it developed that the defendant over a period of fifteen years
had abused his wife and children, both physically and mentally, and that
he at one time had threatened to kill his wife. Also, during the trial
it developed that the wife, Elnora Coey, had been working for a period
of four to five years and that the defendant Coey had been staying a the
house assumably taking care of the children. At the trial, there was
some medical testimony by psychiatrists both that the defendant was
legally insane and that he was not legally insane. There were some
elements of paranoia, which is a sort of persecution complex. The
defendant testified that his wife had threatened to kill him on various
occasions which was contrary to the evidence introduced at the trial
except by the defendant. The evidence showed that the defendant Leonard
Coey brutally, wantonly and cold-bloodedly murdered his wife; Elora Coey.
The defendant states that his true name is Leonard Coey; that he is
57 years of age, Defendant states that he is an American citizen; that
he has lived Arizona and in Maricopa County for more than eleven years;
that he has made his living as a carpenter. Defendant has four children.
Respectfully submitted this 12th day of April, 1955.
Wm. P. MAHONEY Jr. County Attorney