||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
|Born||Ennis William Cosby
April 15, 1969
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||January 16, 1997
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Homicide|
|Resting place||Cosby Family Cemetery|
|Residence||East Side of Manhattan|
|Alma mater||Morehouse College
Teachers College, Columbia University
Ennis William Cosby (April 15, 1969 – January 16, 1997) was the son of American comedian-actor Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille. Cosby, a graduate student and aspiring teacher, was fatally shot by a Ukrainian-born immigrant in an attempted robbery in Los Angeles in 1997.
Early life and education 
Ennis Cosby was born in Los Angeles, the third of five children and only son, to Bill and Camille Cosby. Before Ennis' birth, his father joked to his wife on his 1969 NBC television special that the child, "...had better be a boy, you hear, Camille?".
Although he performed on stage in high school, Cosby was not a public figure. He attended Eaglebrook School and graduated from George School, in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Despite his hard work, Cosby struggled academically throughout his early school years. In 1988, he enrolled in Morehouse College and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. Cosby then transferred to Landmark College, a school with a program for people with dyslexia, which helped him improve his grades. He later graduated from Morehouse College in 1992. In 1995, Cosby earned his master's degree in education from Columbia University.
After overcoming his dyslexia, Cosby aspired to become a special education teacher. He had previously served an internship as a special education teacher at P.S. 163, a public school located on Manhattan's West Side. At the time of his death, Cosby was pursuing his doctorate at the Teachers College, Columbia University and living in a brownstone ten blocks from his parents' home in Manhattan's East Side.
Robbery and murder 
On the evening of January 16, 1997, Cosby was on his way to visit his friend Stephanie Crane while on break from school when his Mercedes-Benz got a flat tire along Interstate 405 in Los Angeles. He pulled his dark-green Mercedes SL600 convertible near the Bel Air freeway off-ramp on Skirball Center Drive and phoned Crane, explaining what had happened. Crane drove out to meet Cosby and focused the lights of her vehicle on the Mercedes's flat tire to illuminate it.
As Cosby was changing the tire, Mikhail Markhasev, an 18-year old Ukrainian immigrant (who worked at a nearby restaurant, had a previous criminal record, and who happened to be nearby using a pay phone at a commuter lot) approached the driver-side window of Crane's vehicle and pulled out a .38 caliber handgun. Crane initially sped away 20–50 feet down the street but then turned around to retrieve Cosby. By the time Crane got back to Cosby's vehicle, he had been shot in the head. Crane saw Markhasev running away down the street but was unable to physically identify him.
After Cosby's death, America's Most Wanted and The National Enquirer offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the killer's arrest. A witness, Chris So, phoned The Enquirer, giving Markhasev's name and telling them that he had bragged the night of the killing that before work he'd shot a black man and that it was on the news. So's information eventually led police to a wooded area where the Taurus .38 revolver Markhasev used in the shooting was found, along with a cap with hair that contained Markhasev's DNA.
Markhasev, who was born to a single mother in Lviv, had come to the U.S. in 1989 with his mother. Markhasev lived with his mother in West Hollywood and attended a program for gifted children at John Burroughs, Jr. High School. While living in West Hollywood, a teacher described him as a well-liked and well-behaved student. However, in 1992, Markhasev and his mother moved to Los Alamitos, California. Markhasev's behavior changed and he began hanging out with a local gang, and exhibiting racism. In October 1995, Markhasev and his fellow gang members attacked two African American men with a knife at a Los Alamitos gas station. He was charged and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and served six months at a juvenile correctional facility. According to a friend of Markhasev's, his time in the facility "changed" him and he seemed more combative and angry upon his release.
Trial and conviction 
According to prosecutors, Markhasev demanded money from Cosby, then shot him in the head because he was moving too slowly. At his trial, prosecutors relied on jailhouse letters where Markhasev allegedly confessed to the slaying saying, "I shot the nigger...I went to rob a [drug deal] and obviously found something else." Markhasev was convicted after a jury trial. His DNA was found in a knit cap wrapped around the murder weapon, which had been dumped in a remote spot off Coldwater Canyon Avenue about 5 miles from the crime scene. That Friday, police combed the area and found the weapon. Ballistics matched the gun to bullet that caused Cosby's wounds, proving it was the murder weapon. The man to whom Markhasev had sent the incriminating letters, told of the location of the murder weapon, and testified against him at trial.
On July 7, 1998, Markhasev was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted robbery. Per the request of the Cosby family, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. Markhasev was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years.
Markhasev confessed his guilt in 2001. While Markhasev's lawyers appealed to get his conviction overturned, arguing that the letters had been forged by another convict, in a handwritten letter to California Deputy Attorney General Kyle Brodie, Markhasev apologized to the Cosby family, saying, "Although my appeal is in its beginning stages, I don't want to continue with it because it's based on falsehood and deceit...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." Markhasev continues to serve his sentence in Corcoran State Prison.
Cosby often used the phrase "Hello, friend", a term Bill Cosby would later adopt. The phrase would become Little Bill's on his eponymous Nickelodeon television series. The Hello, Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation was established in 1997 by Bill and Camille Cosby to assist educating those with learning difficulties.
In popular culture 
- The character of Theo Huxtable, portrayed by Malcolm Jamal Warner on NBC's The Cosby Show, was based on Ennis. Bill Cosby also wrote situations and conversations he had with Ennis into the series.
- The stand-up comedy film Eddie Murphy Raw contains a routine in which Eddie Murphy discusses a phone call Bill Cosby made to him after Ennis attended one of Murphy's concerts that included profanity. Murphy claimed Cosby called to "chastise" him for being "too dirty" in his routines. Bill Cosby later denied that he called Murphy to discuss his use of profanity, calling Murphy "a liar".
- "Cosby Gets his Wish: A Son". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 36 (4): 25. 1969-05-01. ISSN 0021-5996.
- Castro, Peter (1997-02-03). "Goodbye, Friend". People 47 (4).
- McQuiston, John T. (1997-01-17). "Ennis Cosby Is Recalled As Devoted to Teaching". nytimes.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Ukrainian Immigrant Mikail Markhasev Found Guilty Of Murdering Ennis Cosby". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 64 (9): 25. 1998-07-27.
- Avenoso, Karen (1997-01-20). "Ennis Cosby Laid To Rest Funeral Held At Family's Mass. Estate". philly.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Stambler, Lyndon; Campbell, Julia (1992-07-06). "In Search of Justice". People 49 (26).
- Robinson, Bryan (2001-02-09). "Convicted Killer of Ennis Cosby Confesses". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Berry, Steve (August 12, 1998). "Cosby’s Killer Gets Life in Prison." Los Angeles Times.
- Siemaszko, Corky (December 11, 2004). "Scott's Fate Still in Limbo." Daily News.
- "Hello, Jell-O!". Daily Union. 2 May 1999. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "A Cosby Surprise". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 97 (25): 62. 2000-05-29.
- Hall, Jane (1984-12-10). "Bill Cosby Huffs and Puffs on and Off His Hit Sitcom, but His TV Kids Say Father Knows Best". people.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Bill Cosby unfiltered: America's dad talks about Pound Cake speech and why Eddie Murphy is a liar". tampabay.com. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 12 November 2012.