The murder of Stephen Michael Cooke Jr.’s live-in girlfriend, Heidi Bernadzikowski, was planned in their shared flat on Codd Avenue in Dundalk in April 2000, according to an episode of NBC’s ‘Dateline: Indiscretion’. Alexander “Alex” Charles Bennett and Grant Agbara Lewis, two hitmen he hired, carried out the crime. We have information on how the killers were apprehended by the police after 11 years as well as their current whereabouts. So let’s get started, shall we?
Who Are Alexander C. Bennett and Grant A. Lewis?
On April 20, 2000, Heidi Louise Bernadzikowski was assassinated inside her townhouse in Dundalk, Maryland’s 2000 block of Codd Avenue. In September 2011, the investigators restarted the investigation after 11 years and ran the DNA sample through the national database. Since then, forensic science has advanced greatly, and they were able to identify a match in Colorado resident Alex Bennett. He fit the description of the stranger the 24-year-old had seen a few days prior to her being discovered strangled and with her neck cut.
Alex was a trained opera singer who received a scholarship at the esteemed Manhattan School of Music while attending the Denver School of the Arts. He had been living on Baltimore’s streets for about a month at the time of Heidi’s murder, the investigators discovered after searching the internal database of the Maryland State Police. While attempting to pass through the Baltimore Harbour Tunnel, an officer had stopped him. Alex claims that he lived on the streets after being left behind by some buddies when they were out to a concert.
He refuted the claims, however, and advanced an odd idea as to how his DNA was discovered beneath the fingernails of the murder victim. He claimed that one time, while waiting at a bus stop in Maryland, a girl approached him and began yelling at him and clawing his face without any apparent reason. He even told the cops that Grant Lewis, a longtime friend and business partner, could attest to his credibility. When the police checked their records, they discovered that Alex and Grant had been detained in 2003 for reporting a false bomb threat at a courthouse in Colorado.
Where Are Alexander C. Bennett and Grant A. Lewis Now?
In order to steal the man’s automobile after he was sent to prison, Alexander C. Bennett and Grant A. Lewis allegedly sought to blame the incident on a man Alex was living with. Grant admitted to Alex that he had confessed to killing someone in Baltimore after getting drunk one night when the cops discovered that he had an open warrant out against him for some minor offence. Grant’s confession led to Alex’s arrest and deportation to Baltimore, where Grant eventually became the prosecution’s key witness. But before Grant could give his testimony, Alex and the prosecution came to a plea agreement.
In order to earn money to open a nightclub, Alex and Grant claimed to the investigators that they were looking to con people online by pretending to be hitmen. Alex proceeded to get the $5,000 down payment when Stephen came up to them and presented it to them before turning him in as arranged. Grant asserted that Alex turned against Stephen after Stephen allegedly promised to pay him $60,000 to carry out the hit. Alex claimed to have killed Heidi by strangling her, fabricating a robbery-style crime scene, and slitting her throat to make sure she was dead. They asserted that Stephen did not pay, though.
In August 2015, Alex, who was 36 at the time, testified against Stephen under the terms of a plea bargain with the prosecution. As a result of his plea agreement, he received a 30-year prison term. Grant, the alleged “middleman” in the scheme and 36 at the time, was also found guilty of first-degree murder. He received a life in prison sentence. Grant, 45, is detained at the Western Correctional Institution, while Alex, aged 44, is serving his time at the Roxbury Correctional Facility.
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