Questions raised following indictment for accused serial killer Cleophus Cooksey, Jr.

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Cleophus Cooksey Jr. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Cleophus Cooksey Jr. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

An indictment released Monday charged Cleophus Cooksey, Jr. with eight murders when investigators have accused him of nine.

A spokeswoman with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday prosecutors are still reviewing the homicide case of Jesus Real who was found dead in his Avondale apartment on Dec. 11, 2017.  

[READ MORE: Phoenix police attribute 9 murders to suspected serial killer arrested in parents' deaths]

It’s just another wrinkle in a case that can get even more complex, according to defense attorney Randall Craig. He’s represented two serial killers including Mark Goudeau. The so-called “Baseline Killer” was convicted in 2010 of nine murders and 15 sexual assaults.

[RELATED: Bail denied to man accused in 9 killings in metro Phoenix]

“You've got those multiple charges that may come on as a result of the finding of additional evidence or perhaps just additional crimes that the defendant may be tied to,” says Craig.

He says defense attorneys for Cooksey, Jr. will want to dive into his past and paint a picture for jurors. 

[RELATED: Technology helped nab suspected Phoenix serial killer]

“In some cases you may have mental health issues, suffered some kind of abuse as a child,” says Craig. “There's always a story of how that particular defendant got to where he's at.”

Cooksey Jr. is expected to be arraigned Friday. After that, prosecutors will have 60 days to file a notice with the court if they intend to seek the death penalty. 

Craig believes that move is likely and says helping jurors understand a defendant may help spare that person’s life if convicted.

[CRIME MAP: 9 murders Phoenix police attribute to suspected serial killer Cleo Cooksey]

“[Jurors] want a reason not to impose death,” says Craig. “Sometimes there is no reason.”

Defense attorneys will likely challenge how police connected all of the crime scenes. Police say they used new technology to link shell casings to the 9 mm Glock investigators took from Cooksey when he was arrested Dec. 17, 2017. 

Shell casings were not found at every scene.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Suspected serial killer Cleophus Cooksey, Jr.]

“The trick for the state, however, is to show that one particular firearm was actually used as opposed to multiple firearms.”

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