Will Cooney left Pigeon Hallow with his sister, Dixie Cooney, after the
death of their mother, Bess Cooney Hunkle. They were in search of their
uncle, Pete Cooney, in Pine Valley. Will got a job as a stable-hand at
the Cortlandt Manor. Unbeknownst to him, his newest employer was his Uncle
Pete, local Pine Valley millionaire Palmer Cortlandt.
Dixie discovered that their sister, Della Cooney, was also at the Manor.
She was now going by the name Lanie Cortlandt. As a child, she had been
sent to live with an Aunt in Europe to escape the impoverished small town
life the other Cooneys were stuck in. Lanie revealed Palmer’s true
identity. Palmer promised his nephew and nieces would never have to go
without again. Palmer hired Will at Cortlandt Electronics. He too adopted
the Cortlandt name.
Palmer asked Will to protect his interests at Chandler Industries. Will
began dating Skye Chandler to get into the inner-workings of the Chandler
family. Skye gave Will a hot stock tip that he in turn passed to Palmer.
The tip turned out to be a trap set by the Chandlers. Palmer lost most
of his holdings in Chandler Industries as a result. What estranged Palmer
and Will further was his decision to continue dating Skye in spite of
Will was engaged to Skye. Their relationship suffered when he was accused
of poisoning Palmer. When Will turned to Skye for support, she could not
give it to him. Skye was not sure of Will’s innocence. Will broke
off their engagement.
Will knew something was awry when Craig Lawson weaseled his way into Dixie’s
life. He claimed to be Dixie's husband Tad Martin’s friend from
his time in California. Will had his doubts about his story and hired
a private investigator. In the meantime, he wanted Craig out of Cortlandt
Electronics. Will made it look like Craig had stolen $20,000 from Cortlandt
Electronics. When his part in the incident came out, Dixie rejected him.
Palmer took Craig’s side and disowned his nephew.
Down and out, Erica Kane extended a helping hand by giving his a job at
Enchantment Cosmetics. Erica hoped that Palmer would one day be able to
accept his nephew again.
Will made plans to take over Enchantment from within. He found his opportunity
in Enchantment’s newest employee, Adam’s daughter, Hayley
Vaughan. Hayley was fresh off a break up with high school sweet heart,
Brian Bodine. Hayley had turned to alcohol, and Will fueled her addiction.
Will convinced Hayley that they loved each other, and they eloped.
Over the last few years Will had accumulated many enemies. He had raped
Gloria Marsh after picking her up at bar. He blackmailed Craig when he
learned the truth about his affair with Gloria. Adam and Palmer came to
Will with a proposition. They had cut him a large check contingent on
him leaving Pine Valley forever. But, Will wanted to milk them for more.
That night, Will made plans to finally consummate his marriage with Hayley.
When Hayley continued to spurn his advances, Will went into a violent
rage. Hayley barricaded herself in their room. Janet Green broke into
their apartment. Before Will could do anything, she struck him dead with