April 20, 2006
Defense attorneys are calling the sentence too harsh as a jury decided the fate of the man accused of shooting an Albemarle County police dog.
After deliberating for three hours a jury found Robert Cooke guilty of maliciously wounding police dog Ingo.
“The jury rendered a really good verdict on behalf of Ingo and officer Gluba and everything they stand for in the protection of the citizens of Albemarle County,” said Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos.
Thirty minutes later the jury handed down the recommended sentence. They said seven years in prison was appropriate for the man who shot a police dog fleeing the scene of a burglary in 2004.
“I firmly believe that Jesus died for me and I firmly believe Ingo did too. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be standing here today,” said Ingo’s handler Albemarle County police officer Andy Gluba.
Cooke was shot twice and paralyzed during the shoot out with police that night. The jury could have sentenced him to as little as a fine or as much as ten years behind bars. The Commonwealth urged them to come back with a sentence that wouldn't be an insult to Ingo’s memory.
“Ingo was a wonderful dog who was doing his job, and he'd done it for six and a half years and he gave his life on that night,” said Camblos
Defense attorneys off camera said seven years is too harsh and Robert Cooke will certainly be appealing today's verdict.
In a separate trial, Cooke was found guilty of possessing a fire arm as a convicted felon and sentenced to an additional five years in prison.