Charles Michael Cooper, 28, was sentenced to serve life without the possibility of parole for the Aug. 16, 2016, murder of his neighbor, 55-year-old Cindy Allen, in her residence near Byng.
Cooper was also sentenced to serve a total of 105 years for burglary, two counts of Arson and one count of rape by instrumentation — all charges stemming from the same incident. All sentences were ordered to be served consecutively.
Cooper was found guilty of killing his neighbor, 55-year-old Cindy Allen, by strangling her in her residence near Byng, then setting the home on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime and fleeing out of state.
Allen was found dead Aug. 16, 2016, at her residence in the 3000 block of County Road 3579. A neighbor who smelled smoke that morning investigated and saw that the windows in Allen’s home were blackened. The neighbor looked through the windows and saw someone lying on a bed in a bedroom, then called authorities.
When firefighters and deputies responded to the home, they found fire damage to the residence, but the fire had burned itself out. While searching the house, firefighters discovered Allen’s body in a back bedroom.
Authorities believe there was a struggle before Allen was strangled. They also believe Cooper went back after setting the first fire and set several more since the first fire had burned itself out. Investigators said they discovered soot on clothing found at Cooper’s residence.
Cooper was later arrested in Montana.
Contact Carl Lewis at (580) 310-7520, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.