Cooke trial rules 11-1 for death
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 05:05
In an 11-1 ruling last week, the jury that convicted James E. Cooke Jr. of killing a university sophomore in 2005 recommended he receive the death penalty.
Superior Court Judge Charles H. Toliver IV is expected to announce Cooke’s punishment for murder, rape and arson charges by the end of the month.
In May 2005, Lindsay Bonistall was found raped and strangled in her bathtub during an investigation of a fire in her Towne Court apartment, now called the Studio Green Student Village.
Two years later in court, prosecutors matched DNA obtained from Bonistall’s body to Cooke, and he was found guilty of all 11 counts with which he was charged.
In 2009, however, the Delaware Supreme Court found that a plea of “guilty but mentally ill” had been entered by Cooke’s legal representative despite Cooke’s objections, which violated the defendant’s rights. Due to this violation, the court overturned the 2007 conviction.
His retrial, in which he was again found guilty of rape, began in March and concluded in mid-April.