Cooke jury votes for death penalty
The News Journal
WILMINGTON - After about four hours of deliberation a Superior Court jury returned two votes recommending death today for James E. Cooke Jr. in the 2005 rape and murder of Lindsey M. Bonistall.
Cooke had been convicted of two separate counts of first-degree murder and the jury voted 10-2 in favor of death on the first count and 11-1 in favor of death on the second count.
The vote is just a recommendation and the final decision on life in prison or execution for Cooke will be up to Superior Court Judge Charles H. Toliver IV, though he must give "appropriate weight" to the jury vote.
Toliver did not immediately set a sentencing date.
Cooke, 41, chose not to be in the courtroom when the jury came back to report its recommendation around 1:30 p.m.
Afterward, Lindsey Bonistall's mother Kathleen said she was just grateful that the re-trial was now at an end and that her family could get back to their lives.
"This is the end of a difficult time for my family," she said, adding that she now hopes the healing process can re-start.
Today, like most days she appeared in court, Bonistall wore a necklace with a picture of Lindsey on it.
Shortly after Bonistall made her comments in the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse, jurors who had just been released from their duty happened to be exiting and spontaneously lined up to offer hugs to Bonistall and their condolences at the loss of Lindsey, who had been a sophomore at the University of Delaware.
Re: Cooke jury votes for death penalty
Now the years of appeals at tax payer expense begin.
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