- "A woman, you say? I like 'em a little younger than that."
- ―Eli Rooney
Rooney grew up poor in Oklahoma. He and his family survived off roadkill during the Depression, mainly because of the severe dust storms - he admits they lived in the "Dust Bowl" - which ruined his family's livelihood as farmers and ranchers. He also comments about being "punished" as a child, implying that he was molested.
Rooney moved to Los Angeles in his later life and became a notorious self-confessed pedophile; he would later be imprisoned for abusing children. Rooney mentions, if Phelps leaves the interrogation early, that he has spent fourteen years in and out of prison. After his release, Rooney was given a job at Hennessy Marine at the waterfront neighborhood of San Pedro, though he eventually lost his job, ended up homeless and out of money, and resumed his old habits.
Events of L.A. Noire
While stalking children after a dance at the Belmont High School, Rooney witnessed an unknown man placing coveralls in the trunk of a car as well as dropping a golden butterfly brooch. Rooney pocketed the brooch hoping to pawn it for cash. Later, while still stalking the children, he is caught by Detectives Cole Phelps and Rusty Galloway, with the brooch in his possession. Naturally, by being in possession of jewellery owned by a murder victim, Rooney inadvertently made himself a suspect in the case of Deidre Moller.
After being interrogated, and thanks to circumstantial evidence linking to the crime scene and due to his notorious background, Rooney was charged for the murder of Deidre Moller despite his calm claims of not being the killer. After being sent to his cell, he was struck in the face by Rusty Galloway in disgust. Presumably, he was later beaten by Captain James Donnelly. He was then sent to prison. However, Rooney was eventually quietly released when the real killer is revealed to be Garrett Mason.
- According to Cole Phelps, he is 5'6 and his shoe size is 8.
- Rusty Galloway calls him an "Okie motherfucker" referring to the fact that Eli is from Oklahoma.