December 11, 1964: Sam Cooke is Killed in Suspicious Circumstances
In one of R&B's most peculiar mysteries Sam Cooke was shot and killed while wearing only shoes and a sports coat by Bertha Franklin, the manager of Los Angeles' Hacienda Motel.
Accounts vary, but what's known is one Elisa Boyer accompanied Cooke to a hotel room (willingly or unwillingly), she left (escaped or bolted with much of his clothing), and Cooke, enraged, confronted Franklin while he was looking for Boyer. Franklin, fearing for her life, shot him.
Franklin claimed that Cooke assaulted her and that he tried to rape Boyer. Cooke supporters claim he was set up because all his money had been stolen and because Boyer would be arrested on unrelated prostitution charges, casting suspicion on her character.
The jury didn't buy the pro-Cooke version though and the incident was ruled a justifiable homicide.