The self-proclaimed "King of Western Swing" let his jealousy overcome him in 1961, when he brutally stomped his wife to death as their horrified 14-year-old daughter watched. Convicted of murder, Cooley served just eight years in prison when he was scheduled for parole. In November, 1969 -- three months before his release date -- the 59-year-old was granted a 72-hour furlough so he could perform a benefit for the Deputy Sheriff's Association in Alameda County, California. After singing the words, "Time to live before it's time to die," according to filmmaker Dave Payne, 3,000 people gave him a standing ovation as he walked off the stage and died of a heart attack.
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