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Murder suspect has long record

By: jESSE pAUL jesse.paul@gazette.com
July 3, 2013 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm
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A frequent visitor in Colorado prisons, released three months ago and in an intensive supervision program, was arrested in connection with the killing of a Colorado Springs man last week.

Brandon Cockrell, 33, was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Ishmal Mitchell, 19, who was shot to death Friday near Helen Hunt Falls in Cheyenne Canyon, Colorado Springs police said. Court documents in the case have been sealed by police, who say they are continuing to investigate the homicide.

Cockrell, who also goes by the alias Alfonzo Carson, has been in and out of prison for the past 13 years, records show.

First arrested, charged and incarcerated in October 2000 after convictions relating to burglary and weapons charges in Salida, Cockrell did prison time for felony drug and weapons possession in 2008 and burglary in 2010.

In 2007, during one of the short periods of time Cockrell was out of prison, he was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Denver man but later acquitted, court records show.

His crimes have spanned the state, chronologically moving from Chafee County, to Denver, to Gunnison County and now, allegedly, to Colorado Springs, court records say. Cockrell was locked up at various minimum- and medium-security facilities.

In October, an application to be moved to a halfway house that Cockrell sent to the Community Corrections Board, part of the Colorado Department of Criminal Justice, was accepted, said Adrienne Jacobson, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman. He stayed there until March 22 when the board enrolled him in the intensive supervision program, giving Cockrell his freedom under strict guidelines.

"It looks like parole, it seems like parole, but it's not actually parole," Jacobson said. "He's still serving his sentence."

The DOCJ could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Cockrell worked as a trainer at Title Boxing Club in northwest Colorado Springs where he "knew his stuff" and was "patient" with customers before being released a few weeks ago, owner Ted Byer said.

While Byer didn't want to discuss why Cockrell was released, he said the convicted felon was candid about his past troubles with the law.

Club patrons were "outraged" when Cockrell was let go, Byer said, adding that an 80-year-old pastor often trained with the former employee and commended him on his coaching.

"If he did this, everyone's surprised," Byer said.

Cockrell is being held without bond at the El Paso County jail.

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