Feb. 9, 2001 -- The man convicted of killing Bill Cosby's son has confessed to the murder and withdrawn the rest of his appeals.
In a handwritten letter to California Deputy Attorney General Kyle Brodie, Mikhail Markhasev apologized to the Cosby family for the Jan. 16, 1997 slaying of Ennis Cosby. Ennis was shot to death in an robbery attempt on a Bel-Air roadside while he was attempting to change a spare tire.
In his letter, Markhasev said he wished to abandon his appeal because it was a lie. He killed Ennis Cosby and wanted to do the right thing for his family and seek the forgiveness of the Cosby family.
"Although my appeal is in its beginning stages, I don't want to continue with it because it's based on falsehood and deceit," Markhasev writes. "I am guilty, and I want to do the right thing … More than anything, I want to apologize to the victim's family. It is my duty as a Christian, and it's the least I can do, after the great wickedness for which I am responsible."
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley announced the development in Markhasev's case after he and his lawyer filed the notice of abandonment in appeals court. Marhasev also said in the letter that he wanted to apologize personally to the Cosby family and wanted them to receive a copy of the notice of abandonment of his appeals.
'Mend the Things I've Destroyed'
Insisting he did not have a personal agenda, he also asked Deputy Attorney General Brodie to make sure his family is spared "public ridicule and abashment" for his crimes.
"This is not about me, but about those whose lives I've marred," Markhasev writes. "My motive is to at least try to mend the things which I've destroyed."
The Los Angeles prosecutors office was surprised that Markhasev dropped his appeal.
"It's unusual, very unusual," said spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. "But I wouldn't say it's necessarily unprecedented. But I've talked to other attorneys here and they say they've never had it happen in their experiences. … His [Markhasev's] reasons are [stated] in his letter."
Markhasev, a Ukrainian-born immigrant, was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted robbery in Ennis Cosby's death on July 7, 1998. At the request of the Cosby family, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, and Markhasev has been serving a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
At his trial, prosecutors relied on jailhouse letters where Markhasev allegedly confesses to the slaying and writes, "I shot the nigger … I went to rob a [drug] connection and obviously found something else." In their appeals, Markhasev's lawyers tried to get his conviction overturned, arguing that the letters had been forged by another convict, but their arguments failed.