Cheating wife convicted of murdering husband after damning doorbell video undermines her story


Cocina Penn convicted of murdering Robert Penn.

Cocina Penn (left) put in handcuffs after her conviction on Dec. 14, 2023 (WPSD/screengrab), (right inset) in a Paducah Police Department mug shot.

A married Kentucky woman carrying on an affair was convicted Thursday by a jury of her peers of stabbing her husband to death and trying to blame the slaying on an “unknown man,” a murder for which jurors recommended life imprisonment.

The day after 56-year-old Robert Penn’s horrific death on Oct. 4, 2022 shocked locals and devastated his family, the Paducah Police Department announced that Cocina Penn, then 41, was taken into custody as a domestic violence murder suspect after she tried to blame the early morning stabbing on an unknown assailant.

“Police were called about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday to a reported stabbing at Seitz and Mississippi streets. Officers found Robert Penn lying in the road with numerous lacerations. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” cops said at the time.

Cocina Penn, now 42, told investigators that she and her husband were out for a walk at 3:10 a.m. on Oct. 4 when an “unknown man” came out of nowhere and attacked her husband so violently that his head and hands were nearly cut off.

“Detectives investigating the incident uncovered evidence that disputed Cocina Penn’s version of events. They determined there was no unknown attacker, and that she had killed her husband,” police said, presumably referring to video evidence that later factored into Cocina Penn’s murder trial.

Still of doorbell footage played at Cocina Penn murder trial.

Still of doorbell footage played at Cocina Penn murder trial (WPSD/screengrab)

At trial this week, prosecutors in McCracken County played doorbell video in which Robert Penn could be heard begging for his life while running away from Cocina Penn down the street, local NBC affiliate WPSD reported.

“Baby no, baby no,” the victim screamed, undermining the defense claim that a random robber had committed the murder. Witnesses reportedly testified that Robert Penn was, in fact, the person screaming on the damning video.

The video evidence appears to have been crucial, since jurors reportedly asked to view it again during deliberations — deliberations that barely went beyond an hour before the jury sealed Cocina Penn’s fate.

The state alleged that Cocina Penn had asked her lover, reportedly a friend of her husband’s, if he knew anyone who could kill Robert Penn. When that lover said he didn’t know any such person, prosecutors reportedly said, Cocina Penn did the unthinkable.

An EMT reportedly testified that Robert Penn “had been eviscerated,” meaning “his organs were no longer in his thoracic cavity” but “were laying outside, on top of his stomach, on top of his chest.”

A paramedic also reportedly testified that the victim’s hands were cut to the point where they nearly not connected to his arms anymore.

Chuck Walter, a prosecutor in the office of the McCracken County Commonwealth’s Attorney, ridiculed the defense position that an unknown robber was to blame for the stabbing murder.

“Some strange robber didn’t take out his breathing tube, didn’t slash his carotid arteries, didn’t almost decapitate him, didn’t take his wrists down to the tissue,” Walter said.

Jurors also heard from Robert Penn’s son Kevin Penn, who delivered a moving victim impact statement. He said the murder of his father and “best friend” has “destroyed” him and that he was sure “it’s destroyed” his brothers and sisters, too.

Kevin Penn testifies at Cocina Penn trial

Kevin Penn testifies at Cocina Penn trial (WPSD/screengrab)

Prosecutor Walter told jurors that this murder was not a crime that she be punished by 20 years, 30 years or even 40 years in prison. He said it deserved a life sentence.

In the end, the jury recommend life behind bars for Cocina Penn. The convicted murderer’s sentencing was set for Jan. 24, 2024, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

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