On July 19, 1987, Cook stole some money from Cruz-Ramos. When Cruz-Ramos began searching the apartment for the money, Cook and Matzke tied him to a chair and began beating him with their fists and a metal pipe. Cook also cut Cruz-Ramos with a knife, sodomized him, and burned his genitals with cigarettes.
After several hours of this torture, Matzke and Cook crushed Cruz-Ramos' throat with the pipe.
When Kevin Swaney, another co-worker, arrived at the apartment, Cook forced him upstairs and showed him Cruz-Ramos' body. Cook and Matzke then tied Swaney to a chair. Matzke went to sleep while Cook sodomized Swaney. When Cook was finished, he woke Matzke and the two men strangled Swaney to death with a bed sheet. Matzke pled guilty to second-degree murder and testified against Cook. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and was released from prison in July 2007. Cook received the death penalty.