Bond denied for man charged with murder during Gate station robbery

Jacksonville police arrested Jebre Cook Dec. 31 in another Gate holdup

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man arrested last week in connection with an armed robbery of a Gate station on Atlantic Boulevard last month was charged Thursday with killing a clerk during a holdup at a second Gate station.

Jebre Cook was arrested in the fatal shooting of Martin Hower, who was shot before dawn Dec. 15 at the Gate Station on Merrill Road. That holdup took place minutes before the Atlantic Boulevard store was robbed.

Hower was taken to a hospital, where he died. He was 55 years old.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office put out an arrest warrant the next day. According to the warrant, one of the responding offers identified Cook through surveillance video because he had interactions with him in the past.

Cook was arrested Sunday at an apartment complex on Arlington Expressway. Jacksonville police said Cook has admitted to the robbery and murder.

Charges of murder and armed robbery were added to the previous armed robbery charge. He was in court Friday on the new charges and denied bond. His next court date has been set for Jan. 24. 

A regular customer at the station said Hower had worked there for 15 years.

Gate President John Peyton lamented the loss of Hower in a statement in which he described Hower as a "shining example of a dedicated and caring co-worker, employee and friend."

"The loss is immeasurable for us and for the countess customers who have made conversations with Martin a part of their regular routines. We are mourning this tragic passing and we are in prayer for his loved ones and friends, many of whom he worked alongside every day. We continue to assist JSO in every way possible to ensure the suspect is brought to justice."

Records show Cook was arrested in Escambia County once in 2016 on a battery charge. He was arrested again in 2017 on suspicion of a probation violation.

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