Ennis Cosby’s convicted killer confesses, drops appeal

The Associated Press
Saturday February 10, 2001

LOS ANGELES — The convicted killer of Bill Cosby’s son has withdrawn his appeal and confessed that he murdered Ennis Cosby, an act which he called “great wickedness” in a letter to authorities that was released Friday. 

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley announced the development after Mikhail Markhasev and his lawyer filed a notice in appeals court that they were abandoning efforts to reverse Markhasev’s conviction. 

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Kyle Brodie, the 22-year-old Markhasev apologized to the victim’s family and said he wanted to abandon his appeal and admit his guilt. 

“Although my appeal is in its beginning stages, I don’t want to continue with it because it’s based on falsehood and deceit,” said Markhasev’s hand-written letter. “I am guilty and I want to do the right thing.” 

Markhasev added, “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’m responsible. This is way overdue and although my apology is too late, it’s still the right thing to do.” 

Ennis Cosby, 27, a graduate student at Columbia University, was home on vacation when he was shot to death while fixing a flat tire near a freeway offramp in January 1997. 

Markhasev, a Ukrainian-born immigrant, was convicted of the shooting in which Cosby was a target of opportunity. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

After the conviction, Markhasev’s lawyer tried to win a new trial on grounds that incriminating letters used against him had been forged by another convict. But that attempt was rejected. 

Cosby’s family had no comment, spokesman Joel Brokaw said. “This is an extremely rare event,” Brodie told a news conference. He said he knew of no other case in which a defendant has made such an explicit post-conviction confession to a prosecutor. 

Deputy District Attorney Anne Ingalls, who handled the case, said she had no doubt that the letter of confession was penned by Markhasev because “I recognized the handwriting.” She said she always believed she had an “airtight case.” 

As for Markhasev’s motivation, Cooley said, “It falls in the category of confession is good for the soul.” 

In his letter, Markhasev said he had tried to get a message to the Cosby family about a month ago but does not believe they received word that he wanted to confess. 

“I’m not coming to you with guile or hidden agendas,” Markhasev said. “This is as simple and plain as I can get. ... This is not about me, but about those whose lives I’ve marred and my motive is to at least try to mend the things which I’ve destroyed.”