Cooke sentenced to death in University of Delaware student murder

WILMINGTON, Del. - September 17, 2012

A Superior Court judge sentenced James Cooke Jr., 41, to death on Monday, a sentence that was recommended by a jury earlier this year.

Cooke was convicted for killing of 20-year-old Lindsey Bonistall.

Cooke maintained his innocence and decried what he said was a corrupt judicial system after being sentenced.

In a statement, Attorney General Beau Biden said:

"Nothing changes the fact that Lindsey will not return home with her mom, dad, and sister to Westchester County. However, the sentence handed down reflects the brutality of her attack and murder."

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

Prosecutors said Cooke he broke into Bonistall's off-campus apartment and raped and strangled her before placing her body in a bathtub and setting the apartment on fire.

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