According to court documents Milton Gobert would try to kidnap Mel Cotton and when he failed he would stab the woman over a hundred times causing her death and attempted to murder her five year old son
Milton Gobert would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Milton Gobert Photos
Milton Gobert Now
|Gobert, Milton Dwayne
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Milton Gobert Case
The final chapter may end with a lethal injection.
At least, that’s the way it is currently written for former Abilene resident and Cooper High School student Milton Dwayne Gobert, who was sentenced to death Wednesday by a Travis County jury for the 2003 stabbing death of Mel Kernena Cotton.
Gobert, who was convicted of the crime March 2, didn’t take news of his death sentence quietly.
According to a published report in the Austin American Statesman, the 37-year-old screamed openly in the courtroom when the victim’s sister, Ethel McPherson, took the witness stand, calling her sister “an angel.” “That (expletive) wasn’t no angel, that was a (expletive),” Gobert yelled, interrupting McPherson’s testimony.
The outburst served to punctuate a life marred by anger, which began with Gobert being transferred from Taylor Elementary School to the Houston Student Achievement Center and gradually evolved into run-ins with the law.
Known as “Houston SAC,” the facility works with students whose needs are not met on their home campus ? usually those with behavioral issues.
According to records, Gobert was moved to the facility in 1981, returning to Taylor Elementary School in 1984. From there, he moved on to Jefferson Middle School and eventually to Cooper. His mother, a licensed vocational nurse, still lives in Abilene.
“I was acquainted with him when he was at the Houston Student Achievement Center when he was in elementary school,” said Cooper Senior Principal Jane Allred, who worked at Houston SAC from 1979-93. “He came to our school to receive special instruction and special help in the areas of behavior management and social skills training.
“He was in a small, self-contained classroom. We worked with him on a daily point sheet where he earned points for appropriate behavior ? following directions, respecting the rights, feelings and property of others, and completing his work. … He was successful toward the end of being with us, and we sent him back to his home campus.”
Trouble, however, reportedly found Gobert again while at Cooper. He transferred from Cooper to Wichita Falls Rider during the second semester of his senior year and graduated from Rider in 1991.
From that point forward, things grew worse ? far worse.
According to court records and filings from prosecutors, Gobert committed acts such as burglary of a habitation, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, assault, aggravated assault and carrying a prohibited weapon between 1991 and 1993.
In March 1994 he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbery and 10 years in prison for burglary, with the sentences running concurrently.
He was released in 2002 and settled in Austin, after which his potential for violence again surfaced with two assault charges against women and a six-month jail sentence.
He eventually found a steady girlfriend, Christina Pocharasang, who accused Gobert of biting and punching her in September 2003. She moved out of Gobert’s apartment with Mel Cotton’s help, and prosecutors theorized that when Gobert couldn’t find Pocharasang, he went to Cotton’s apartment.
Cotton was found by her sister in October 2003 ? stabbed and cut 107 times. Her 5-year-old son was stabbed as well, but survived.
Gobert’s reasoning: self-defense.
The jury didn’t buy it and rendered a guilty verdict in roughly three hours. The same jury returned Wednesday to hand Gobert the death sentence.
“I never lost confidence ? I knew that justice would prevail,” Cotton’s mother, Liberty Bell Cotton, said in a telephone interview. “I’m just so happy. He got exactly what he deserved. Nobody should have to die like that, and she never did nothing to nobody.”
By Liberty Bell Cotton’s account, Gobert shouted expletives at the jury, at the victim’s family, and when the judge ordered that he be escorted out, he shouted an expletive at the judge as well.
“With that outburst that he gave in court, calling (Mel) names like that, it proves that he shouldn’t be out, and it proves what had been said about him all along,” Liberty Bell Cotton said. “Ethel said that Mel was an angel, and soon as she said that, he went berserk.”