May 11, 2006
A mistrial and a guilty verdict for the man accused of assaulting two Charlottesville police officers.
The jury found Kerry Cook guilty of the misdemeanor, resisting arrest, but they couldn't come to a decision on two felony charges of assault and battery of a police officer.
A judge was forced to declare a mistrial on the most serious charges against Kerry Cook. The jury was deadlocked at 8 to 4, but wouldn't tell reporters which way they were leaning
“They felt there was additional evidence needed to corroborate some of the things that we heard,” said Jury Foreman Tom Pitt.
They wanted forensics evidence, a look at Cook's toxicology report and to hear from additional witnesses. In essence it all came down to “Do you believe Mr. Cook’s version of the events or do you believe the officers' version of the events?” said Cook’s defense attorney Bill Rogers.
The officers said they responded to a domestic call in August 2004. They encountered Cook hiding in a closet. He tried to run, a fight ensued and Cook was shot in the stomach.
“Clearly we felt the evidence indicated that Kerry Cook was the victim of an unfortunate police shooting [and] that there was an excessive use of force by the police officers at the scene,” said Rogers.
The Commonwealth told the jury the shooting was justified, that the officer had to take drastic actions to prevent his own death.
The jury did find Cook guilty on the charge of resisting arrest. They sentenced him to nine months in jail. Three months less than the maximum penalty.
Cook has been in custody for 21 months, serving time for other offenses. In fact, the night he tried to run from police there were five outstanding warrants for his arrest, one for beating and robbing an elderly woman.
The Commonwealth could not comment on an ongoing case but say they plan to retry Cook on the assault and battery charges.