A story like few in which I have ever been involved! JIM COCHRAN began getting in trouble with the law at age 12. In an effort to correct him, he was placed in Bellefontaine Reform School in North St. Louis County for 18 months. After that time in his life, later he kidnapped more than a dozen people at one time from one bank Robbery. He often developed relationships with those he had taken hostage.
He tells the story of the hostages he had captured and the whole group went to one residence. He was so dirty from all his escapades that the hostages guarded the door, four of them in chairs facing away from the bathtub while he bathed. They found some clean clothes for “Jelly Roll!” His hostages offered to prepare a meal for the group, including Jim. When they sat down to eat, they did what you would expect a kidnapper to do with his hostages before eating. They said “grace (thanking God) for the food” before they ate together!
He has pictures of his cars – with bullet holes in those cars — from where he had “shoot outs” with the police.
When he got out of prison in 1986, he got a Rolls Royce and developed a legitimate transportation business for special occasions, such as weddings.
One of those special events was to transport a newly married couple that included MATT HUNTER, son of prolific witness for JESUS, PASTOR PHIL HUNTER. He tells the story on our recording together. Jim recalls how, just after Matt’s wedding as he was transporting he and his new bride, Matt was up against the window opening and the back portion of the car. The new MRS. MATT HUNTER was in the very back portion of Jim’s Rolls Royce, while Matt was near the front of the passenger section, telling the story of Jesus to the driver, Jim “Jelly Roll” Cochran!
Within a few days, on a week day, Jim found himself at the church building, wanting to meet the father of Matt who had offered him such hope from the Bible. Phil was “tied up” at the time. Within days Pastor Phil Hunter took Jim “Jelly Roll” out to lunch. During their time together, Pastor Phil led Jim in prayer to saving faith in Christ. He was then baptized one month after Matt had first witnessed to him!
Jim enjoys telling his story, sharing his “testimony,” to individuals and to groups. He invites your calls and can be reached at 314 954-3033.
He is featured in the BIG BOOK OF ST. LOUIS & SOUTHERN ILLINOIS CRIME, Pages 144 – 148, published in 2010 (of which he is one of the authors and contributors). He is also featured in CBS-TV’s JULIUS HUNTER’S book on criminals he has interviewed. Julius Hunter was a longtime “anchor” man for Channel 4 in St. Louis.