Crime Scene Photography · Illinois

Police remove body of teen murdered by friend

May 11, 1945
Chicago, Illinois
Police remove the body of Morton Stein (16) who was murdered by his friend and partner in crime Donald Jay Cook (16)

Stein and Cook had been committing a series of robberies. The two got into an argument when Cook mentioned he wanted to stop the criminal activity. The fight culminated with Stein being bludgeoned with a blackjack (a flexible club often made of leather) until it broke, then stabbed for good measure. Cook then stuffed Stein’s body in the closet of the hotel room they shared and fled to Louisiana where he was apprehended.

Cook was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times (December 7, 1947) as saying “Every teen-after gets into trouble these days, the papers start writing about bobby-sockers and juvenile delinquency. Don’t call this a teen-age murder, please. It’s bigger than that.”

In December of 1947, Cook changed his initial plea of not guilty (he had initially claimed he killed Stein in self defense) to guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to 7 to 14 years in prison. Papers as late as 1952 reported on Cook, who was still in jail at that time.

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