Murder of Son, Mother, on Eve of Paternity Test

A Tennessee man, aged 25, has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the brutal murder of his four-month-old son and the child’s mother, aged 32. The man, Enoch Z. Turner, was found guilty of stabbing both victims to death in 2019, in what prosecutors believe was an attempt to avoid legal and financial obligations to his son. The sentencing was handed down by Shelby County District Court Judge Chris Craft on Saturday.

Turner was convicted of breaking into the home of Heather Cook, the mother of his child, and stabbing her over 100 times before turning his weapon on his infant son, Bentley Cook, stabbing him 10 times. Prosecutors also revealed that Turner set the house on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence of his heinous crimes.

The trial, which lasted four weeks, resulted in Turner being found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count each of aggravated child abuse, aggravated arson, and especially aggravated burglary. Judge Craft sentenced Turner to two consecutive life sentences, along with 12 years for the burglary charge and 25 years for the charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated arson. These sentences will run concurrently with the first life sentence.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagerman, who prosecuted the case alongside Chief Prosecutor Eric Christensen, stated after the sentencing that Turner would never be released from jail. He emphasized the importance of remembering Heather Cook as a devoted mother and Bentley Cook as a child who, despite his short life, clearly loved his mother.

According to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Heather Cook had initiated legal proceedings to establish Turner as Bentley’s father. Turner was scheduled to take a paternity test on September 14, 2019. However, on September 13, 2019, authorities responded to a fire at Cook’s residence, where they discovered the bodies of Heather and Bentley Cook, both suffering from multiple stab wounds.

Investigators quickly identified Turner as a suspect after learning from family members that he and Heather Cook had been arguing over child custody issues. Turner was arrested later that same day. Prosecutors believe that Turner was motivated by a desire to avoid his paternal responsibilities when he murdered Heather and Bentley Cook.

Although the state initially planned to pursue the death penalty against Turner, prosecutors agreed to the consecutive life sentences after consulting with the victims’ family members. Hagerman stated that this decision ensures Turner will die in prison, which was what the family wanted. He added that the sentencing brought some justice for Heather and Bentley Cook, and peace for their family.