Culpeper Police Officer Found Guilty In Shooting

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

patricia cookWe have previously discussed the fatal shooting of an unarmed Patricia Ann Cook, 54, by Daniel Harmon-Wright, at the time a Culpeper, Virginia police officer. Cook was in her Jeep Wrangler in a church parking lot. Harmon-Wright had claimed his arm was caught in the car’s window as Cook drove away. This claim was disputed by an eyewitness. Cook was shot seven times.

The jury found Harmon-Wright, 33, guilty of manslaughter and recommended a sentence of three years in prison, the low end of sentencing guidelines. The prosecutor had asked the jury for the maximum of 25 years.

Culpeper Circuit Judge Susan Whitlock can reduce the prison time but cannot increase it. Judge Whitlock denied a defense motion for a mistrial when it was learned that some jurors used a dictionary during deliberations to determine the meaning of “malice.”

In a tragic turn to this story, Patricia Cook’s husband, Gary Cook, 62, died in September of 2012, just seven months after his wife was shot and killed. Results from the Manassas Office of the Chief Medical Examiner regarding Gary Cook’s autopsy, showed he died of natural causes.

Gary Cook had filed a $5.35 million wrongful death suit against Harmon-Wright. The civil suit will continue with the late Patricia Cook’s younger brother replacing Gary Cook as administrator of his sister’s estate.

malice:
1: desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
2: intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse
I would say that 2 fits the bill. Without access to the court’s instruction to the jury, I can’t explain the light sentence.

H/T: Richmond Times-Dispatch, WJLA, WUSA, Culpeper Star-Exponent.

18 thoughts on “Culpeper Police Officer Found Guilty In Shooting

  1. He was a cop when he shot her so lets not tag the article as Ex- Police Officer. He is only Ex after the fact. igPay on the ouey yea. Why did the schmuck shoot her? His name was not Adam in a prior life was it? And why the hyphenated last name? Yeah, my sleeve was caught in her door so I shot her seven times. Eyewitness says no to the caught in door crap. My god. IIf he works on the chain gang he should be careful where he leaves the chain when they shut the door on the dump truck.

  2. Light sentence for sure. The claim of being caught in the window, BS. Funny how sleeves get caught in windows when officers realize how badly they screwed up. All this over a suspicious call. What a waste of this woman’s life.

  3. This sentence is a travesty. Police will continue to use excessive force as long as there is no down side. He murdered this woman. There are NO excuses or justifications. He should go to prison for at least 25 years.
    None of us are safe from officers who see themselves as unaccountable gods whose every command must be accepted with complete submission or else.

    Who knows what he said to her or what he demanded? She obviously felt threatened.

  4. What Darren, Blouise and Justice Holmes said.

    And although it is cold comfort to her loved ones, I hope they get every dime in the civil suit.

  5. “Sleeve was caught in the window” is the American equivalent of the old South African (Apartheid regime) “slipped on the soap.”

  6. By comparison former K-9 police officer Stephanie Mohr of Prince Georges county was given 10 years for using her dog to attack cooperating detainees.

    Some times the system works.

    I note with interest the almost complete silence regarding the shooting by LA police officers of two women who had only the most superficial resemblance (actually no resemblance at all) to the alleged murder Christopher Dorner. Dorner is a very dangerous man and should be brought to justice. But are we any safer when officers shoot at anyone in a blue truck?

  7. BFM,

    Not everything can be covered here, but some of us have been following the LA debacle. What struck me about that was that both reported shootings – the one with injury and the one without – happened after Dorner’s truck was found burned out despite both events being directly related to dark colored late model pick-ups.

  8. This woman’s life was only worth 3 years and a bank robber can get up to life….. But if you launder drug money and you’re a bank you just have to pay a civil penalty…. How the heck is this in the right direction…. The guy should get life….

  9. Manslaughter? What a joke. Harmon-Wright deserves execution.

    If it had been a civilian killing a cop, the killer would have gotten the death penalty because of who the badge.

    So why doesn’t the cop get the death penalty? He was supposed to know and unhold the law. Instead he broke it, violating public trust.

    If cops expect stiffer sentences and punishments for crimes committed against them, then they should get stiffer sentences and punishments for crimes they commit against civilians. Anything else is hypocrisy.

  10. It is hard for me to imagine what LEO’s were thinking when in two incidents they rammed and began shooting at civilians in trucks that had only the most superficial resemblance to the truck driven by Dorner.

    It would seem that good police work would require checking the license plate or actually looking at the target before opening fire.

    I think we can all have some concern and sympathy for the stress of those searching for a police killer.

    But these two incidents seem to go beyond simple ‘mistaken identity’.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/dorner-manhunt-torrance-neighborhood-mistaken-identity.html

    From the link:

    Some Torrance residents remain on edge days after police officers participating in the massive manhunt for ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Jordan Dorner mistakenly shot up two pickups being driven by people not matching the description of the murder suspect.

    Two women in a blue pickup, who were delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times, came under fire by Los Angeles Police Department officers on Thursday morning in what Police Chief Charlie Beck has described as a case of “mistaken identity.”

    Moments later, Torrance Police Department officers responding to the gunfire slammed their cruiser into a black truck being driven by David Perdue and opened fire. Perdue’s attorney described the shooting as “unbridled police lawlessness” in an interview with The Times on Saturday.

  11. Institutionalized murder incorporated: covering its tracks with a light sentence. I have to wonder where he gets to serve his time? Jail justice may catch up with him if he does hard time.

  12. LOOK YOU F–KING MORONS!

    YOU DITCHED THE PROPHET OF NAZARETH & YOU HAVE OPENED YOUR ARMS TO THE PROPHET OF MECCA!

    GET USED TO TOUGH SH-T!

    THE MULATTO IN THE WHITE HOUSE THINKS THE PROPHET OF MECCA IS THE WAY TO GO & SO DOES BUSH & CLINTON!

    NOW GO & F–KING READ QURAN, HADITH & SIRA.

    THE PROPHET OF MECCA NEVER SAID SORRY!

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