Man gets 18 years for killing Air Force vet

A man will spend 18 years in prison for killing a 76-year-old military veteran during a carjacking incident outside a Chandler gas station.

Jordan Sullivan, 22, pleading guilty to the second-degree murder of Wesley Cook, a retired Air Force sergeant who died last April 19.

Cook was discovered lying on the ground outside a Circle K near Arizona Avenue and Riggs Road shortly after midnight on April 9. He told Chandler police officers he had been assaulted while filling up his gas tank and the attacker had taken off in his vehicle.

Chandler Police later spotted Cook’s vehicle driving down the road by Sullivan and attempted to stop him, then chased him onto the Gila River Indian Community reservation until Sullivan crashed the vehicle and rolled several times.

The fugitive fled on foot but a police dog chased Sullivan and subdued him. He later told Chandler Police he stole Cook’s car to see his family and didn’t intend to hurt the elderly man, court documents show.

Cook was a retired aviation industry employee who had worked at Boeing in Mesa in its helicopter division.

The prosecution advocated for a lengthy prison sentence, stating Cook likely suffered during the days leading up to his death.

Emily Spangenberg-Cook, the victim’s widow, said she barely got to spend any time with her husband before he died due to the hospital’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“I never got to see Wes again while he was conscious,” she wrote in a statement to the court. “I was not allowed in the hospital until the last hours before they moved him to hospice.”

She said her husband had served more than 20 years in the Air Force and spent two tours in Vietnam during the war.

Cook’s car was the first he ever bought brand new. It was totaled after the accident and couldn’t be repaired by his family. 

“Now I will never get to sit in the car in order to feel closer to Wesley,” his widow added. “It too is gone forever.”

Superior Court Judge Annielaurie Van Wie ordered Sullivan to pay $3,800 in restitution to Cook’s family for the victim’s funeral expenses.

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