Anthony and Nathaniel Cook Are Killers Who Took Lives Together — Where Are They Now?

"They told us to go into a garage, and that's where the worse night of my life happened," said Cheryl Bartlett.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jun. 10 2024, Published 8:21 a.m. ET

Nathaniel and Anthony Cook's mug shots
Source: Lucas County Sheriff's Office

In August 1989, Erik and Lyle Mendendez left their parents' home in Beverly Hills, Calif., to go to a movie. They were supposed to see the new James Bond movie License to Kill but it was sold out so they saw Batman instead. Upon returning home they made a grizzly discovery. Their parents had been shot to death the crime scene was horrific. After they were arrested, the brothers claimed they shot their parents in self-defense after years of sexual abuse had been enacted on them by their parents.

Article continues below advertisement

That line of defense didn't work as they were found guilty in 1996. Believe it or not, there's a far more sinister story that involves brothers killing together. Anthony and Nathaniel Cook went on a killing spree around Toledo, Ohio, in the early 1980s. Unlike what the Menendez brothers claimed, this wasn't an act of self-defense. The Cook brothers were predators. Where are they now? Here's what we know.

Article continues below advertisement

Where are Anthony and Nathaniel Cook now? Only one is still in prison.

In August 2018, NBC 24 WNWO reported that Nathaniel was released from prison after serving 20 years. The judge was extremely reluctant to do this but it was out of her hands. Nathaniel's release date was part of a plea deal he struck two decades prior. Of the nine murders committed, Nathaniel admitted to participating in three of them. By confessing, he was given a shorter sentence. Nathaniel was 59 years old at the time.

Almost two years later, a reporter from WTOL 11 decided to do a piece on the Cook brothers. Because Nathaniel was a registered sex offender, finding him was easy. When the reporter knocked on his door, Nathaniel's mother answered. Her son had no interest in speaking with the media but he gave the WTOL 11 reporter four minutes of his time.

Article continues below advertisement

For obvious reasons, Nathaniel struggled to find work and revealed that life had been extremely hard for him. He just wanted to have some semblance of a normal existence and was frustrated by the fact that he couldn't achieve that. That was all the time Nathaniel had for the reporter, so he left.

Article continues below advertisement

According to the Associated Press, Anthony and Nathaniel "admitted in 2000 they were behind nine killings, including a string of eight murders in 1980 and ’81. They told of how they preyed on women walking alone and young couples in parked cars, raping the women before killing them." Anthony said he was behind five of the nine murders and as such, was sentenced to life in prison. He had already been incarcerated when the trial with his brother began, so this made for two life sentences. He is currently serving time at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

A woman named Cheryl Bartlett survived an attack by the Cook brothers.

Cheryl Bartlett went on the I Survived podcast where she shared the details of the night she was raped and shot by Anthony and Nathaniel Cook. It happened in January 1981. She was living in Toledo with her fiancé Bud and their two-year-old son Eric. Bud was a meat cutter at a local grocery store and on that night, Bartlett decided to get dressed up and surprise him at work. Because they made just enough money to survive, they didn't have a car, so Bartlett walked.

Article continues below advertisement

She made it there OK, but the walk back with Bud changed her life forever. While discussing their upcoming marriage, Bartlett noticed a man across the street coming towards them. As he sped up, she got more nervous. Then he started running and pulled out a gun, while tossing two masks at them. He lead the couple down a residential alley that was partially lit, then forced Bartlett and Bud to stop. Suddenly another man appeared, and he was larger than the first one.

Article continues below advertisement

"They told us to go into a garage, and that's where the worse night of my life happened," said Bartlett. She was forced to get undressed while a knife was pressed against her throat. One of the men said, "Tony, I will go first." The knife was pushed further into her neck when Bartlett refused to take her pants off. At the same time, they cocked the gun and had it pointed at Bud. "While I was being raped I made my mind and body go to another world with my son playing in a play yard ... I blocked it out."

After the assault, the men shot Bartlett but not Bud. Although she didn't feel anything, Bartlett could tell by the look on Bud's face it was bad. Fortunately she survived but was severely traumatized by the incident. The three of them moved in with her mother because the men who raped her had their licenses with their addresses on them. Sadly, Bartlett and Bud separated a year after the incident. Eventually she remarried and was able to rebuild herself with the love and support of her new partner.

More from DreamDive

Latest Human Interest News and Updates

    © Copyright 2024 DreamDive. DreamDive is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.