-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
We 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.