Gardena man guilty in ECC student murder

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A jury last week found an 18-year-old Gardena man guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of an El Camino College student, whom he passed briefly in the street.

Jordan Joseph was convicted in the June 26, 2015 shooting death of Kody Ryan Cook, 18. The two males, who did not know each other, crossed paths in the street and made eye contact. Cook asked Joseph, “what’s up?’

A jury last week found an 18-year-old Gardena man guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of an El Camino College student, whom he passed briefly in the street.

Jordan Joseph was convicted in the June 26, 2015 shooting death of Kody Ryan Cook, 18. The two males, who did not know each other, crossed paths in the street and made eye contact. Cook asked Joseph, “what’s up?’

Joseph is expected to be sentenced to 40 years in prison when he returns to Torrance Superior Court on Sept. 27, the Daily Breeze reported last week.

The verdict brought some closure to the victim’s family and friends in the 14-month-old case. Diedre Cook, the mother of Kody Cook was grateful for the outcome.

“I’m so thankful,” Cook’s mother said. “I thank God for this verdict.”

The occurrence shows that Cook, with two friends, parked his BMW on Arcturus Street in Gardena. While the trio were smoking marijuana, Joseph stood close by next to a friends’ tan minivan, watching the BMW in a “stare down” with Cook and his friends.

As Cook drove away and he passed Joseph, pausing to ask, “What’s up?”

Cook and his friends then drove to a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop.

Video surveillance a short time later shows the minivan pass the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop at 135th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard. Video recordings show the van drive into the lot, with Joseph exiting the van and walking toward Cook’s BMW.

Then Joseph ran back following the shooting, jumping into the van and racing away. Gardena police located the van later and recovered Joseph’s backpack and school identification — he was a 17-year-old high school student at the time. Joseph was arrested a few days later and prosecuted as an adult, the Breeze reported.

Joseph initially told detectives he was not involved in the shooting of Cook, but in court said he did shoot the victim in self-defense. Joseph said that he was shopping in the same center, noticed Cook’s car and approached to “resolve” the situation.

He claimed Cook reached for a silver gun in the center of his car. Witnesses to the incident said they did not see Cook pull a weapon, and police found no evidence a gun existed, as reported.

Testimony revealed that Joseph approached Cook in the parking lot, said “what’s up now?” then pointed a gun and fired a shot.

Gardena man guilty in ECC student murder