Marcus Belgrave, 78, a jazz trumpeter who graced stages and studios with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Cocker and Motown artists galore, died Sunday at an Ann Arbor, Mich., care facility. The cause of death was heart failure.
Belgrave remained active on the Detroit and international jazz scenes up until his death. Born into a family of musicians in Chester, Pa., he started playing professionally at 12 and joined the Ray Charles Band in the late 1950s — what he once described as "the beginning of my musical life."
He came to Detroit in 1962 and became a studio musician for Motown Records, playing on hits including "My Girl," "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "Dancing in the Street." After Motown went to California in the early '70s, Belgrave stayed in Detroit and co-founded Tribe Records and recorded with a collective of jazz artists.
He became an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in 1988 at the request of Wynton Marsalis. He also was a prolific mentor and teacher, serving as a professor or visiting artist at numerous institutions, including Detroit-area schools, Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and Oberlin College.
Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson, formerly of Minneapolis, said in a statement that "Detroit has lost a piece of its soul."
John Murphy, 88, a New York congressman who represented Staten Island for 18 years before being caught in the Abscam corruption scandal in the late 1970s, died Monday of a heart attack at Richmond University Medical Center in New York City.
Murphy, a Democrat who served in Congress from 1963 to 1981, was one of about a half dozen members of Congress convicted of taking illicit cash payments in the Abscam sting operation. They were caught on videotape taking bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab businessmen in exchange for legislative favors.
Murphy, who accepted a $50,000 bribe, was convicted of conspiracy and receiving an unlawful gratuity. He was acquitted of bribery and served less than two years in prison.
A West Point graduate, Murphy earned several awards for his military service in the Korean War, including the Distinguished Service Cross. Murphy was defeated when he ran for a 10th term, losing to Republican Guy Molinari.
Paula Cooper, 45, who was once the nation's youngest person on death row but whose sentence was eventually commuted to a prison term was found dead in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Police said Cooper was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound outside a residence on the city's northwest side. Cooper had been released from prison about two years ago, after the Indiana Supreme Court set aside her death sentence and gave her a 60-year prison term.
She was 16 when she was sentenced to death in 1986 after confessing to her role in the murder of a 78-year-old Gary, Ind., Bible studies teacher the year before. She admitted stabbing 78-year-old Ruth Pelke 33 times with a 12-inch butcher knife in a robbery that netted four youths $10 and an old car. Cooper was 15 at the time the crime was committed.
Her death sentence enraged human rights activists in the United States and Europe and drew a plea for clemency from Pope John Paul II.