Today marks the 11-year anniversary of the slaying of John Cole, 18, at the Sonic restaurant which was located at 624 N. Main St., in a drive-by shooting. The case remains unsolved.
Cole and a friend were sitting in a vehicle when shots were fired from the alley behind the restaurant. Cole was struck in the back of the head and pronounced dead the next morning at University Hospital in Lubbock.
Cole had just graduated from high school. He planned to join the National Guard and hoped to become a police officer.
The District Attorney’s Office was forced to stop prosecution in 2002 due to lack of evidence against suspects Manuel Lucero and Isaac J. Stewart, both 17 at the time. The prosecution’s primary witness, Jerrod Nease, also 17 then, not only gave conflicting testimony, but failed a polygraph test.
Lesley S. Williams, the chief deputy district attorney in 2002, noted that Nease admitted to tampering with evidence in connection with the murder of Cole in the Children’s Court Division of Chaves County District Court.
According to Williams, Nease said he didn’t see the guns during the shooting. However, Williams said, “It had to be there right beside him. In fact, in his face.”