When Ennis Cosby pulled over to the side of a Los Angeles freeway to change a flat tire, he became the sad victim of an attempted robbery by Mikhail Markhasev, 18.

Ennis wasn’t identified with dyslexia, a learning problem, until he was in college, which inspired him to advocate for assisting others with similar issues. 

Ennis’ murder shocked the entire country, mainly because it occurred at such a young age, and his father had made him a household figure through their appearances on The Cosby Show.

Following the incident, Bill and Camille Cosby spoke out about how American discrimination may have had a role in their son’s death because it drove Markhasev to attempt the theft in the first place.

Ennis William Cosby, born on April 15, 1969, was the pride and joy of his father. Before Ennis’ birth, comedian Bill Cosby had two daughters and was overjoyed to have a boy of his own.

The comedian frequently featured anecdotes about Ennis in his comedy routines and even fashioned one of The Cosby Show’s characters after him. Ennis’ story was paralleled by Theo Huxtable, who was portrayed as a young man who overcame his dyslexic learning issues.

He attended specialized programs after being diagnosed with dyslexia and finally transferred from Morehouse College in Atlanta to Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City, where he thrived academically.

Bill was so proud of his son that he frequently brags about him during interviews and comedy routines, mentioning his educational accomplishments and stellar scores. Ennis grew up humble and confident due to his father’s undivided attention.

He exhibited all the attributes that any parent would desire for their child: a strong work ethic, intelligence, ambition, and tenacity in facing adversity, making him an excellent role model for many admirers worldwide who looked up to him.

Unfortunately, it all ended when Ennis was the victim of gun violence, which no parent should ever have to go through.

Ennis Cosby, Bill Cosby’s cherished son, believed in giving everyone a chance. This sentiment was articulated in an essay in which he declared his desire to pursue a Ph.D. in special education, emphasizing reading challenges.

With his father’s lively nature and sense of humor, as well as his physical attractiveness and athleticism, Ennis wanted to ensure that no other students fell through the cracks by making teachers more aware of dyslexia and learning difficulties in their students.

It was shocking when news surfaced of Ennis’s sudden death in January 1997 while visiting Los Angeles.

According to sources, Ennis was driving his mother’s Mercedes SL convertible on Interstate 405 when he got a flat tire in Bel Air. Unfortunately, this would be the end of an inspirational young man with enormous goals for himself and others.

Stephanie Crane, his girlfriend, was with him in another car.  She had previously parked in front of his car and suggested he call a towing firm for assistance.

On the other hand, Cosby insisted that he could change the tire and stay put. But this decision cost him a lot of grief when Mikhail Markhasev appeared unexpectedly at his window.

Markhasev, an 18-year-old Ukrainian immigrant, had been hanging out with his buddies in a neighboring park when they observed Ennis and Crane’s automobiles.

He approached the cars to rob them, but his plot was disrupted as Crane sped away in fright. When Markhasev decided to confront Cosby, he shot him in the head when he allegedly delayed too long to pay over his money.

The death of Ennis Cosby shook not only the Cosby family but individuals all across the world. A distraught Bill communicated his grief through television cameras as he said: “He was my hero.”

CNN sparked even more uproar by broadcasting photographs of Ennis’ body by the highway, which sparked public outrage everywhere they aired.

The investigators were able to track down Markhasev thanks to an essential tip from Christopher So, an old buddy of Markhasev’s who contacted them after the National Enquirer offered $100,000 for any information about Ennis Cosby’s death.

When police caught Mikhail Markhasev in March, they discovered the pistol he had dumped wrapped in a hat. The hat included evidence linking Markhasev to the crime, and he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in July 1998.

Erika Cosby, Ennis’ sister, told reporters outside the courthouse that she was relieved after the verdict.

Ennis Cosby’s death left his family with an unhealed wound that could not be readily repaired. Camille Cosby wrote an opinion post for USA Today immediately after her son died, expressing her belief that race had a significant role in this tragedy.

She observed that no matter how successful Ennis was academically or financially, he would constantly be threatened because of the color of his skin. This racial reality continues to affect many African-Americans in America today.

Mikhail Markhasev refused to accept responsibility for the death of Ennis until 2001, when he finally admitted his guilt and expressed genuine regret for his conduct. He said it was his Christian responsibility to apologize for this terrible behavior and offered a formal apology to the victim’s family.

Bill Cosby has had a terrible time in recent years, as multiple women have accused him of sexual assault, and he was charged with aggravated indecent assault until the matter was dropped in 2021.

Regardless of what was going on around him, Bill seemed only concerned with the well-being of his children when he went on trial in 2017 – giving love to all five of them while pushing them to keep fighting for their spirits.