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Cooley calls for execution of man who murdered Domino's Pizza driver in Glendale

May 02, 2012
  • Los Angeles County District Atty. Steve Cooley.
Los Angeles County District Atty. Steve Cooley. (Anne Cusack / Los…)

Los Angeles County District Atty. Steve Cooley is calling on court officials to order the execution of a death row inmate who strangled and drowned a Domino’s Pizza delivery man in a Glendale hotel room more than 26 years ago.

Cooley requested that the Los Angeles County Superior Court order single-drug execution methods for 52-year-old Mitchell Sims, who was sentenced to death in 1986 for the murder of 21-year-old delivery driver, John Steven Harrigan.

Cooley asked the court to issue the same order for 46-year-old Tiequon Cox, who was sentenced to death for killing a grandmother, her daughter and two grandchildren in 1984 in South Los Angeles. Cox has been on death row for roughly 25 years.

“It is time Sims and Cox pay for their crimes,” Cooley said in a statement issued Wednesday. “I am joining with the California District Attorneys Assn. and other district attorneys throughout California in asking the Superior Courts throughout the state to hold these killers responsible for the innocent lives they took so many years ago.”

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In 1985, Sims and his girlfriend fled South Carolina, where they robbed and shot two Domino’s Pizza employees, Christopher Zerr and Gary Melke, both 24. Zerr died at the scene, Melke slipped into a coma and died days later.

The pair arrived in Glendale on Dec. 9 that year and lured Harrigan into their Regalodge Motel room on the 200 block of West Colorado Street.

Sims strangled Harrigan with a pillowcase and drowned him in a bathtub.

The pair then fled the hotel and robbed a local Domino’s Pizza, using Harrigan's truck and uniform.

They used rope to hang two of the restaurant’s employees in a walk-in freezer. They were later rescued by Glendale police.

Sims was also sentenced to death in South Carolina for the murders of Zerr and Melke.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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