Defense to begin case in University of Delaware student murder

Monday, April 02, 2012
James Cooke Jr.

James Cooke Jr.

Prosecutors are wrapping up their case against a former death row inmate charged with raping and killing a University of Delaware student in 2005.

The prosecution planned to rest its case against James Cooke Jr. on Monday, after which defense attorneys were to begin presenting their case.

Cooke was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of Lindsey Bonistall. But the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2009 because his public defenders, without Cooke's consent and despite his repeated claims of innocence, argued that he was guilty but mentally ill.

Cooke began his retrial by acting as his own attorney. But after frequent outbursts and his continued refusal to abide by court rules, the judge, over Cooke's objections, ordered that Cooke's court-appointed standby attorneys take over the defense.

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